Allegiance: Les Fantômes [Trinity Continuum]

Open Development, Trinity Continuum

This week, I’m showing off a piece from newcomer (but longtime fan) Craig Oxbrow.

You may note that the format of this Allegiance is different than 9’s from last week. Since we’re treading new ground, I mostly asked my different authors to put together their own formats which felt right. I’m taking the best of each and codifying a proper template which will be used for the second drafts after they’ve got Storypath to work with. Without further ado:

Leverage's Parker

Leverage’s Parker

Les Fantômes

I’m the world’s greatest thief. Isn’t that better than being second best at something?”  Sabine Durant, alias ‘Irma Vep’, during questioning by Interpol in Monte Carlo.

Every field of human activity has its world leaders, and theft has Les Fantômes. An international gang of art and jewel thieves linked to robberies in over twenty countries in the past five years, the Ghosts claim that they can break into any building and steal any prize, only being noticed if they choose.

Goals and Methods

Les Fantômes share a simple goal — they steal because it entertains them. They charge a standard fee of a million Euros per item when stealing to order, because anything they steal should be worth that or more, or it does not deserve their attention.

However, they have also recovered stolen items without seeking payment, such as a prototype near-zero emission engine returned to the Triton Foundation less than three days after its theft by Zukhov Syndicate agents, and a Da Vinci left in the Louvre’s lost and found office after it was stolen for ransom by a rival international gang.

Experts in breaking and entering, con tricks and escapology, hacking and fraud, Les Fantômes take pride in never being seen unless they want to — but that pride often means that they want to. The group have been known to alert the media and police themselves after an operation. In one recent example, a masked woman thought to be Durant herself was once recorded blowing a kiss to a traffic camera while leaving a St. Petersburg auction house, after evading detection by every security camera inside the building to steal a Russian Orthodox icon which was then donated to the nearby Hermitage museum.

The Ghosts refuse any job that would require killing. They keep to a code precluding violence against bystanders and those not directly involved in crimes, planning to avoid it and going out of their way to do so during thefts. They have never killed or permanently injured a police officer or a security guard. Durant would rather leave a prize behind than get into a gunfight, and demands that her associates follow her example. They are not above using knockout gas, sleeper holds or blows to the head, and Durant and others have used lethal force in self-defense against rival criminals, but only as a last resort. The reasons for this are practical as well as ethical — a theft earns substantially less police attention than a murder, and even a daring daylight robbery by the world’s greatest thieves will not mobilize the force like a cop-killer. If one of the organization breaks this rule, Durant has promised to deliver them to the police herself. Whether this has ever happened is known only to the gang and the police services involved.


While most international gangs of thieves naturally prefer to avoid the limelight, Les Fantômes seemed to actively seek the mantle of “world’s greatest thieves”. They first came to the attention of the police and press when they claimed responsibility for the theft and ransoming of the Du Martin family diamonds, and provided a leading Parisian journalist with proof of the Du Martin heirs’ insider trading in family-held companies. Similarly high-profile robberies followed, usually targeting groups seen to be corrupt and in some cases exposing them to the media and authorities.

The Ghosts were brought together by Sabine Durant, a descendant of French aristocrats who escaped the Revolution and returned when Napoleon took power, a former member of the French Olympic gymnastics and fencing teams and holder of a doctorate in art history at Paris-Sorbonne. She claims that her life of crime started when she was a child, shortly after her mother’s death at an early age. Her father lost a favorite necklace of her mother’s in a wager which was fixed, and she stole it back from the winner’s hotel room. Then again, an accomplished thief is also an accomplished liar, and she never made these claims until after her father died seven years ago.

Durant’s sometime alias ‘Irma Vep’ comes from Les Vampires, an early 20th century serial about a gang of jewel thieves, and every member of the gang uses a code name borrowed from a thief in popular culture. An entire group based in the United Kingdom style themselves after the Merry Men, although it should be noted that they only give some of their ill-gotten gains to the poor…

Organization and Structure

Les Fantômes” effectively refers to two groups. The first is Durant and her gang, a handful of experts in their respective fields. The second is their web of contacts and allies around the world, a modern “thieves’ guild” including other gangs on every continent, such as the UK’s Merry Men, the US-based Breakers and India’s Five Daggers.

The larger group spreads across the world, making friends in black and grey markets, smuggling rings and police departments willing to look the other way. Durant and her personal gang cannot steal every item the gang is held responsible for, but is believed to offer advice on bypassing security for a “consultation fee” to non-members. The Ghosts themselves maintain a friendly rivalry with other full-time gangs in the collective.


Les Fantômes are the best of the best, a network of experts keeping to Durant’s code. Any of them might at any time be called in to one of the Ghosts’ own jobs, or asked to advise a friend in the organization, but in general gangs are left to their own devices so long as they follow the rules.

A typical gang of thieves will include an insertion expert and safecracker, a security hacker, a getaway driver and a con artist. A given caper might require other specialized skills, and the network has a pool of talent ready to join a job with a day’s notice at most.

Former members of the group who leave on friendly terms are expected not to endanger their former colleagues or contacts, and in return they and any new employers will likewise be left alone. Those who seek to form active rivalries or who join underworld enemies should not expect that kind of consideration.

Example characters

Cat burglar, safecracker, con artist, hacker, forger, intelligence gatherer, getaway driver, bodyguard

Allies and Enemies

Les Fantômes have assembled a global network of allies in the underworld, but also a surprising number of friends in legitimate businesses and groups. Arts charities have welcomed the return of stolen works without ransom and no questions asked, and even some governments have called Ghosts in — sometimes off the record, and sometimes in handcuffs — as advisors when investigating the disappearances of rare and valuable items.

The Ghosts’ enemies naturally include every law enforcement department in the world, as well as the individuals and organizations targeted by their thefts. Leading the charge is a special Interpol unit, based in Paris and lead by some of the city’s most capable detectives.

The collective has a number of rivals, international gangs who prefer to work in secret. They generally avoid one another, although at times multiple groups will aim for the same prize. When this happens, Les Fantômes will try to negotiate a peaceful agreement with a group they can trust to keep it, and move to beat a less scrupulous group to the target.

Perhaps their most dangerous enemies are criminal organizations with a more brutal approach to their operations, such as the Camparelli Family and the Zukhov Syndicate. The Camparellis control a number of smuggling operations and steal art to order by any means necessary, leading the Ghosts to steal from them directly or indirectly. Sabine Durant has refused to work for the Zukhovs in the past, considers the Global Cartography Initiative fair game due to Andrei Zukhov’s place on its board of directors, and has at times even offered discounts for jobs targeting Syndicate interests. Andrei Zukhov recently placed a multi-million dollar price on Durant, dead or alive, making her a target for mercenaries and bounty hunters around the world.


Les Fantômes are a devil-may-care gang of thieves, rogues and scoundrels, highly skilled in their chosen fields, with a code against undue violence, a sense of poetic justice and a charitable streak. They could be the playable protagonists in a crime caper adventure series, or likeable antagonists in a story about protecting valuable items.

In a series featuring a mixed group of characters, a Ghost could join as a “consultant” as other groups need the very best to acquire some well-guarded item for a good cause, or set a thief to catch a thief. As a permanent member of another group, thieves turned security experts could work with public and legal organizations.

  18 comments for “Allegiance: Les Fantômes [Trinity Continuum]

  1. WuseMajor
    February 11, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    …Can I hire these people to steal this book from the future? Because I really want this now.

    Everyone loves Leverage.

    • February 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Their rates for jobs involving time travel are pretty high.

  2. Ian A. A. Watson
    February 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Although it’s about a century off, I would not be surprised if French gentleman-thief Arsène Lupin played more than a small part in inspiring the Ghosts.

    • February 11, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      Absolutely – the world always has a greatest thief somewhere, whether we know about them or not.

    • marin
      February 11, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Is their name a homage to Fantômas?

      • February 11, 2016 at 2:20 pm

        Maaaaaaaybe. (Yes.)

  3. February 11, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    “the Camparelli Family and the Zukhov Syndicate”

    Those of you who can detect ultrasonics? That squeal you just heard was in fact a squee, from me.

    • February 11, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      My work here is done!

    • Ian A. A. Watson
      February 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      You’ll be seeing more of them — and other Aberrant references — in further previews. 😉

  4. Michael Stein
    February 11, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    But can they rob from a god?

    It would be a challenge I suspect.

    • Ian A. A. Watson
      February 12, 2016 at 12:19 am

      No gods in Trinity, per se. The supernatural doesn’t really exist the Continuum. That’s the purview of Scion.

      • Michael Stein
        February 12, 2016 at 12:52 am

        Ah, but if the Mummy of Montezuma can make you skeleton rip form your body and dance the Charleston with a single ‘curse’ the rest is semantics isn’t it?

        A Mummy of Montezuma that can make you skeleton rip form your body and dance the Charleston can still be a thing in Adventure right?

        • February 12, 2016 at 7:19 am

          The world’s greatest thief in the Adventure! era is probably Flambeau. He would, at that point, call in his archenemy Father Brown…

          • February 12, 2016 at 7:20 am

            (Note that this cannot be considered an official ruling. But the idea of Father Brown in Adventure! amuses me greatly.)

          • Will
            February 12, 2016 at 7:05 pm

            Well, I know my first Trinity character

  5. Perverseness
    February 12, 2016 at 10:11 am

    REALLY WANT THESE BOOKS! Hopefully you guys are not going to stretch out release cycle any. My wallet is ready

  6. Shan
    February 13, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Sooo..what does one have to pay to be the face of one of these groups? either drawn or photographed?

    Is that going to be a kickstarter backer thing?

  7. NateD
    February 14, 2016 at 5:33 am

    Interesting! I actually really liked the original Aberrant backstory of the Camparellis and the Zhukov’s growing to fill a vacuum after Project Utopia cut the head off international organised crime.

    That being said, I’m *really* digging this! I could very happily play these guys! Or one of these guys pulling off a job with a Section 9 straight man… 😉

Comments are closed.