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Johan and the M&SU - friends or foes?


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When I paint a figure I like to understand a bit about their backstory - who they are, what they do, and so on - I like to think this helps me in producing a good paint-job.

Now, my next project is to be Johan, because I think he would fit well in my Kaeris crew.

So, I took a look at his fluff in the main rule book, and, well, I'm a little confused.

The fluff talks of "animosity" between him and the M&SU, and that The Union blames him for sabotage.

So, are the M&SU and Johan friends, or foes?

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Lore wise they hate each other to death.

Mechanics wise they love each other with hugs and kisses.

I guess one could pretend that Johan is buddies with the little man and only hates The Man. But as the scale of Malifaux conflicts has said Man (i.e. the M&SU tagged Masters and maybe Henchmen) works so close with the Johan when you field him that gets a little hollow in my opinion. 

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Some members of the Miners and Steamfitters Union take that organization’s rhetoric as a philosophy to live by. Where the Union decries the totalitarian rule of the Guild, Johan embraces a philosophy of anarchy. He knows no master, not even recognizing the leadership of the Union to guide him, just the tenants of its charter. He pursues his own interests, taking a new job only if it serves his own purposes.

and when he's present in the story for Balancing the Books, he's working at the mine where they confront Ramos.  So as far as I can tell, the incident alluded to in his 2nd edition description hasn't been described in detail in the story yet.

But I think that 1.5 edition description explains why Johan has Open Revolt to heal M&SU models while the description has them blaming him for sabotage.

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I feel like Johan got the short end if the stick. Mei Fang is the proletariat by de facto, whereas Johan is in spirit.

I couldn't agree with this more.  Up until "Shifting Loyalties", it seemed very clear that she was the "working man's Hero".  And even though she's cross between Ten Thunders and Arcanists, IIRC, her relationship with Ramos is purely professional, if not also a front for her to keep her connections with the M&SU while fulfilling the needs of the Ten Thunders primarily.  So while her relationship with the Arcanists may be a farce, the image she portrays for herself seems like something that Johan would be more likely inclined to side with.

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I don't know, I still think it's a matter of the new background blurb overstating the matter because it's trying to summarize a big, complicated arrangement of political double dealing, a popular labor movement, political corruption, and how this loose cannon fits into the situation.

The models that have the MS&U tag in the game are the individuals or constructs who work for the Miners and Steamfitter's Union publicly.  But they each have models in the game because they're involved in the double-dealing and fighting and maneuvering associated with the union as a force in Malifaux.

"That guy's a loose cannon who doesn't follow orders.  That makes him less useful, but we can still use him as a convenient scapegoat when he's not pointed in the right direction," you might imagine Ramos saying as he discusses a problem (rephrased so that it would sound in character for Ramos, of course... )  

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