Triad, image (Shadowrun Sourcebook, Vice)

Triad, Officer

Triads from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Stolen Souls

Triads of Manhattan

The Triads are one of many criminal organizations commonly found in Chinese communities. It is the world's largest and oldest criminal society, twice as old as the Yakuza and four times as old as the Mafia, dating back over 800 years. The name "triad" comes from the interpretation by the British of the symbols of the Hung Sun, a secret society opposed to the Manchu rulers during the 17th century China. The triangle symbol represents the relationship between Heaven, Earth, and Man.

In the Sixth World, it is the Yakuza and Mafia which get most of the press in the Western world, yet it is the Triads which are the biggest players in the criminal underworld. The largest criminal underworld is that of the Triads with millions of members, several times more than all the other major ethnic mafias combined. It has branches (lodges) in more countries than any of its main rival ethnic syndicates and its worldwide smuggling network reaches more countries and handles more volume than those of its competitors, all the while transporting an incredibly wide variety of goods and often undercutting its competitors on price.

They have a near absolute monopoly on the underworld of China, both the black markets and the vice rackets. In Southeast Asia, they are generally speaking on top of the criminal pyramid, with primacy in smuggling and in the drug trade. Throughout the world, in most Chinatown, the Triads are there running the rackets in those Chinese communities. In most cities of the world, it is the Triads that dominate the smuggling racket. It is the Triads (along with the Ghost Cartels) who are the kingpins of the global drug trade, as they produce, transport, and distribute the lion's share of the illicit drugs (organic, Awakened, and BADs). The Triads are the biggest manufacturers and distributors of brand counterfeit goods and of illegal BTL chips, as well as the leading talisleggers and people smugglers.

While the Triads are secret societies involved in organized crime, for the Awakened they are also magical initiation groups.[1] Among the world's organized crime groups, the Triads are one of the most enlightened and progressive when it comes to women, ethnicity, and metahumans. At least in comparison to the Mafia, the Vory, and the Yakuza, though being a Chinese organization there is still a hierarchy favoring the Chinese.[1][2][3][4] They are also the criminal organization which is most likely to fight against oppression and help the freedom fighters.[4] Being one of the most tech-savvy criminal organizations, they recently proved once again that they are quicker to adapt than their more conservative rivals (e.g. the Mafia) when the emergence of Technomancers came to light.[5]

It is an underworld which has the two oldest crime syndicates, the White Lotus Society which is over 800 years old and the Hai San which is 300 years old, the former nearly x4 as old as the oldest Yakuza clans or Mafia societies. Within its ranks is the largest global crime syndicate, the Red Dragons which is controlled by the Great Eastern Dragon Lung and is decades older than the Sicilian Mafia. Spread across the Triads is a secret society within the Triads, the Sai Fan whose agenda is unknown. Rumored to be secretly controlling all the Triads is the aforementioned Great Eastern Dragon and/ or a secretive council of crime lords, the Ring of the Burning Phoenix .

The Triads are a criminal society which has many trailblazing syndicates within its ranks. An underworld, that includes a global crime syndicate, the Ten Thousand Lions which is the only worldwide syndicate that is metahuman-heavy and it's even run by a trog (an ork). That has another crime syndicate, the Four Winds that is the only crime syndicate run by sapient critters. Not to mention the world's only crime syndicate, the Phoenix Lodge whose leadership is dominated by women. As well as a syndicate, the 289's which has a bonafide Technomancers guild.

The Triads have been steadily expanding across the world, like an unstoppable flood. While they have had occasional setbacks (losing market share or territory), generally speaking they have been expanding and getting stronger for decades since the 2030s. Wherever the Triads have been expanding into, the established crime syndicates like the Yakuza and Mafia have fought them for every square foot of territory metaphorically speaking. Despite that they have failed to stop the Triads from progressively encroaching into their territories.[6]

Number of Triads: 100+[6]

International Triads: 20+[6]

Membership (Worldwide): Millions[7]

Membership (Hong Kong): 1,000,000+[8]

Membership (average Triad):' 1000s[9]

Annual Revenue: many Billions (nuyen)[10]


Origins of the TriadEdit

The Triads (Heaven and Earth Society) is the world's oldest criminal organization, which is least 800 years old (and known as the "Triads" for the latter 400 years). During those centuries, numerous Triads were exterminated and numerous other Triads were created.[11] Some of the Triads are centuries old (e.g. Red Dragon Association, the Hai San, and the White Lotus Society).[12][13][14]

The origins of the 800+ year old White Lotus Society (the oldest of the Triads) is unknown. It is famous though for overthrowing the Mongol tyrants, restoring Han Chinese rule, and establishing the Ming dynasty which ruled the restored Chinese empire for nearly three centuries.[15][16] It is the latter 400 years of Triad history that is well known. Which starts with the legendary origins of the "Heaven and Earth Society" from which the word "Triad" originated. Whose story begins with a monastery of Shaolin monks who did a favor for the 2nd Manchu emperor (Kangxi) of the Qing dynasty in 1674. The emperor or his advisers (depending on the source) repaid them by ordering the extermination of the Shaolin monks. The Manchu soldiers destroyed the temple and massacred the monks, except for five who survived. After escaping, the five Shaolin survivors devoted themselves to overthrowing the Qing dynasty and established five anti-Qing groups which evolved into the Triads.

Evolution of the TriadEdit

Unfortunately for their cause, the Triads were unsuccessful in overthrowing the Manchus and the Qing dynasty ruled till 1912. By then the Triads had become an inseparable part of Chinese culture. Rebellions need to be morally flexible, get covert funding, and maintain secrecy to survive. Which incidentally are the same qualities a successful criminal organization needs. Since the rebels had lived as outlaws so long it was easy to make the transition into becoming full fledged criminals.

The Republic of China which succeeded Imperial China, encountered challenges that made it difficult to establish itself successfully, among them warlords. In these chaotic times, the Triads were able to take advantage of such opportunities and their membership exploded while profits skyrocketed. Then disaster struck in 1949, as the Communist Party seized power and cracked down on the Triads.

Many of the Triads relocated to Hong Kong, and those who stayed in the People's Republic of China were forced to keep an extremely low-profile which caused membership to plunge and profits to crash for the mainland Triads. Meanwhile the Triads in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Macao thrived as they virtually established monopolies over different legal and illegal business sectors and industries. The Communist government would crush many of the smaller groups, but they were never able to eliminate the Triads as a whole.[11]

Dawn of the Sixth WorldEdit

After the collapse of the Chinese government and the fragmentation of China, the Triads made a lot of money selling food, weapons, tech, and whatever else was needed to the warlords and the desperate people who lived under their rule. The profits were used to build up their criminal empires and for some of them, to expand outside of China. Under the direction of the dragon Lung, the Red Dragons became the most ambitious and expanded throughout the Pacific Rim.[17]


Triad SocietyEdit

The level of organization among the Triads varies greatly, from loosely organized associations (e.g. the 289's) to highly structured groups (e.g the Red Dragon Association). Members are given numerical codes based on Chinese numerology to identify their rank.[18] Hong Kong lodges usually leave the other lodges alone, unless the local San Chu keeps messing up. Then the lodgemaster has to answer to someone back in Hong Kong or Singapore. Heads will then roll, at times literally.[6]

Triads recruit through both relatives and active street gangs. Among the Chinese diaspora they also recruit from the Tongs.[8] Modern Triads are created by absorbing smaller Chinese gangs. All members of a Triad use centuries-old Triad hand signals, take the loyalty oaths, and speak in the numbered code. When it comes to the Triad leaders (Dragonheads), most of the Shan Chu lead public lives as businessmen.[19]

The Triads unlike the Yakuza prefer secrecy and keeping a low profile when possible. Therefore unlike a Yakuza oyabun, the Shan Chu embraces a cover of humility. Where a Yakuza boss will sit on the board of an international corporation, the most powerful Triad dragonheads publicly run a restaurant or small business by day. Which leads them to be underestimated by those unfamiliar with the Triads.[19]

Lodge HierarchyEdit

  • The Shan Chu (Lodge Master - 489, aka the Dragonhead) is the head of the Triad. Who has little to no interaction with the rank-and-file. Most of them live a relatively unexciting life as the owner of a small business. It's a title which is reserved for someone who has a lot of experience, many years worth. His connections to the Triad are equivalent to that of the head of a policlub. He is normally insulated from the violence within the underworld, keeping his hands clean. What the Shan Chu does is provide the Triad with direction, in other words he provides it with guidance and a vision.[19][20]
  • The Fu Shan Chu (Deputy Lodge Master - highest ranking 483) is in charge of handling most of the Triad's day-to-day logistics. It's his job to make the Shan Chu's desires reality and takes his or her orders to the gangs at the street-level.[19][20]
  • The Heung Chu (Incense Master - mid-tier 438) is usually an initiated mage that follows a magical path similar to that of Wuxing. It's his responsibility to make sure that the traditions of the Triad are followed. He is also in charge of making sure that the ritual induction of new recruits is done appropriately per the ceremonies. The Guardian is his equal in the hierarchy.[19][20]
  • The Sin Fung (Guardian or Vanguard - mid-tier 438) assists the Incense Master. He also is in charge of recruitment, specifically the identification of gangs which may provide the Triad with future recruits. It's his job to make sure that those gangs come under the influence of the Triad. In the Triad hierarchy, the Incense Master is his equal.[19][20]
  • The Sheung Fa (Double Flower - lowest 438) are members whom have demonstrated exceptional skills or promise, or have proven themselves over the years. In the larger Triads (e.g. Hong Kong), they are the bosses of the largest gangs which have been recruited by the Triad. Double Flowers are also sent to new markets to establish new branches of the Triad. Individuals may have the rank of a Sheung Fa in an older Triad and have a higher rank in a newer Triad.[19][20]
  • The Hung Kwan (Red Pole - 426) is the Military Commander. It's his job to order the gangs when they have to fight to defend or expand a territory. He coordinates the various gangs under the Triad's control when needed. Which is usually to take advantage of a big opportunity which has presented itself or to deal with an external threat to the Triad.[21][20]
  • The Pak Tsz Sin (White Paper Fan - 415) is the Accounts/Matrix Commander. Who launders the Triad's money from illegal enterprises. He is in charge of making the books look clean. The White Paper Fan is also in charge of Matrix activities. Depending as to whether his Triad is a player in the Matrix, determines the importance of the position.[21][20]
  • The Cho Hai (Grass Sandal - 432) is the Pay-Off Commander. He is the Triad's public face, the one that many independent businesses and most gang members are familiar with. It's his duty to collect and pay nearly all of the bribes and grafts that smooth things for the Triad's operations. He also acts as the liaison between the various street gangs and the different levels within the gang.[21][20]
  • The Sze Kau (49) are the rest of the Triad's members. They are the soldiers and street toughs of the Triad, enforcers whose loyalty is ensured by mystical oaths. Whom vary from veterans who hope to rise up the ranks, those who were recently recruited from the street gangs, and others who have very little involvement in the Triad (appearing to be innocent Triad supporters).[21][20]
Triads from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Underworld



When it comes to other ethnic groups, the Triads are progressive criminals in comparison to the bigoted chauvinistic Vory or the even more racist xenophobic Yakuza.[22][23] Though membership in the Triads is usually mostly Chinese, they don't discriminate against non-Chinese. Triads will recruit non-Chinese Asians into the lodge and in North America they have been recruiting non-Asians. Therefore you will find among their numbers; Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysians, Filipinos, and other Asians. Sometimes they even recruit non-Asians such as Anglos and Latinos. While non-Chinese usually will to some extent have to work longer to prove themselves, it isn't that much of a minus. Though they are very proactive and enthusiastic at recruiting non-Chinese, there is an ethnic and cultural hierarchy in the Triads, more so in the Far East than elsewhere. In which the Han Chinese dominate the Triads, both in numbers and in leadership positions. They also outnumber and usually outrank other ethnic Chinese, who normally outrank the other Asians, who mostly outrank Westerners.[4][24][25][2]

Globally, the Triads have become a cultural phenomena as there are now Triads that have not a single ethnically Chinese member in their ranks.[8] A small number of non-Chinese have reached the inner circles of a few major Triads (e.g. the Red Dragons and the Large Circle League), including a Latino, a Japanese man, and one Azanian (black) woman.[25][26] In nearly every single major Triad, the dragonhead is Han Chinese. Only three major Triads are the exception; the Ten Thousand Lions led by a half-Chinese and half-Filipino male ork, the Clan of the 51 Gorgons led by a Vietnamese man, and the Four Winds led by Nagas.[27][28][29] In addition in the German city of Brandenberg to the east of Berlin, a Korean man is the head of the Triads.[30]


As far as metahumans are concerned, the Triads are positively enlightened compared to the conservative prejudiced Mafia or the militantly racist Yakuza.[3][24][31][32][22][33] The Triads don't discriminate against metahumans, with ethnicity seen as being more important than the metatype. Within their ranks they have metahumans of every race, as they could care less what type you are as long as you are Chinese. They make it their policy to approach those metahumans who are disaffected because they can't join the Yakuza or Mafia and recruit them. In fact metahumans have the advantage that the Triads perceive them as being unlikely to be spies for the Yakuza, for obvious reasons (especially trogs).[24][4][2]

Which gives them a lot of pull in the neighborhoods that are mostly metahuman and dominated by the Yakuza or Mafia, helping the Triads push out the established gangs which have been running criminal enterprises in those neighborhoods.[24] In Triads all around the world, Metahumans have been promoted into the upper tiers, holding positions of power.[4] From the evidence out there, it appears that most if not all of the metahumans who have reached the top tiers (dragonhead or the inner circle) of the major triads (e.g. the Red Dragons, the Smoke Circle Society, the Ten Thousand Lions, the Golden Dragons, the Red Lotus, or the Golden Triangle) are magicians, technomancers, or founded their own triad.[34][27][26][35][27][36]


In the criminal underworld, the Triads are practically liberals when it comes to women joining their syndicates compared to the chauvinistic Mafia or the even worse misogynistic Yakuza.[24][3][37][22] Which does not mean that women are treated as equals in the Triads, men are usually still valued more than the women. Though women are less likely to advance up the ranks there are women who have climbed the ladder. When it comes to the women that have become officers within the lodge, they have the same amount of power as the men.[38][4][2]

Some of the women have managed to make it to the top becoming the Shan Chu (dragonhead or lodgemaster) of their Triad.[38][4] Which is quite the comparison to the Yakuza, which has only a single female Oyabun (Megumi Aoi) or the Mafia which has female Doña whom though formidable have all inherited their positions from their fathers or husbands (e.g. Rowena O'Malley, Allegra Fuselli, Miriam Kozlowski, Michaela Semeszato, and Paula Kozlowski).[39][40]

A good number of magicians in the Triads are women, and since the Triads favor the Awakened it improves their odds of advancing up the ranks.[38][4] Among the Triads who have women in the inner circle or as dragonheads are the Red Dragons, the Large Circle League, the Phoenix Lodge, the White Lotus Society, and the Yellow Lotus.[26][25][41][42][43] Three major triads are led by women; the Phoenix Lodge, the White Crane Triad, and the 289's.[41][38][44]


In the Triads, the Awakened members are almost always favored over the non-Awakened. Shan Chu (Dragonheads or Lodgemasters) are often either an adept or a magician, and in the larger Triads it's almost certain to be the case.[4] When it comes to mages, the Triads attract magic practitioners at a higher rate than other crime syndicates.[45] The Awakened usually advance up the ranks faster than mundanes and are usually members of secretive elite initiatory groups within the largest Triad syndicates, especially in China and Hong Kong (though rarely in North America)[21][38] The upper ranks of most Triads are full of physical adepts. Men and women who can kick a heavy security door off its hinges, snap a steel rod or sword, or kill you with a touch among other things.[38][46]


In the aftermath of the revelation about technomancers, the Triads once again got the leg up on their more conservative competition (e.g. the Mafia). It was basically deja vu, a repeat of when magic first appeared. Rather than see them as a threat to their criminal operations, the Triads (and the Vory) saw technomancers as valuable resources. They rushed to press gang technomancers into service, recruiting them into their syndicates.[5] One Triad (the 289's) has gone as far as to establish a technomancers guild within the syndicate.[47]

Some of the Triads see technomancers the same way that they see the Awakened. There are resonance signatures that recruit technomancers to immediately take office-level positions in the Triads.[20] So far though technomancers have reached the upper tiers of the major triads (e.g., the Red Dragons and the Eighty-Eights), none have yet become a dragonhead in one of the major Triads.[26][48]



The Triads use magical oath rituals in their initiations which make the infiltration of Triads by law enforcement and interrogation of Triad suspects incredibly difficult. If a Triad member breaks the loyalty oath, violent physical reactions occur immediately often leading to death (e.g. bleeding from the eyes, pores, mouth, etc).[49] Members value secrecy and being subtle. Many members keep their membership secret. It's thought that they use a secret language based on facial and hand gestures.[20]


The Triads believe that man must be in harmony with both heaven and earth. Despite being a criminal organization they therefore also see themselves as a philanthropic organization. If there is a war, the Triads will enter the war zone and supply the refugees with the supplies they need though they will make sure they profit when doing so. When operating in a totalitarian state, the Triads will organize rebellions against the regime and make sure that they will be among those that benefit afterwards. They have many law-abiding SINers among their members. Triads see all their members are part of their family.[4]

It's Your FamilyEdit

Triads are full-service crime syndicates when it comes to its members and their families. Each syndicate takes care of it's social events, accounting, financing, and so on. They provide martial arts and weapons training, medical coverage for its members, and benefits to the widows and wives of dead or jailed members.[50]


Within the Triads, usage of tattoos is common but not required as in the Yakuza and the practice of tattoing varies among the Triads with some going for elaborate multi-colored tattoos and others with simple single-colored ones. These tattoos can be extensive covering the arms and shoulders or part or most of the chest and/or back (e.g. the Black Chrysanthemum and Red Dragons). On the other hand, the Triad member may have only a small tattoo on the back of the the wrist, the shoulder, the ankle, or the bottom of the foot (e.g. the White Lotus Society and the Golden Triangle Society).[51][52][53]

The tattoos can take the form of pictures or Chinese pictograms (characters), all of which have some meaning based on either Chinese mythology or culture. The most common images are that of the dragon or the phoenix. With the former representing "Yang" (dark energy) and the latter representing "Yin" (light energy). Dragons are associated with power and luck by the Triads. Other animal images which are used include tigers (ferocity and power), snakes (wisdom), turtle (longevity), and so on. Popular are also Chinese gods and goddesses (e.g. Guan Yu known among other things as the "God of War" and so is Kuan Yin the "Goddess of Mercy and Compassion").

In the Sixth World, neon tattoos are now found among the Triads (e.g. the Red Dragons, the Black Chrysanthemum, and the 289's). If the neon tattoos are those of pictures (e.g. dragons, fish, tigers, scorpions, etc), they are tattoos that are moving (e.g. swimming, flying, hissing, roaring, etc).[54][55] Some of the Triads, may use scarring in lieu of tattoos in which they brand themselves with an image (e.g. the Golden Triangle Society).[56]

How Triads OperateEdit


Joining a Triad consists of an initiation which is a 3-day long ritual involving signs, flags, special foods, utensils, origami, and incense which takes place in a Triad lodge. Everything in the ritual has some kind of mystical significance based on Daoism, Buddhism, and Chinese numerology. Triads that don't do the 3-day long ritual still require candidates to come back 3 days later for follow-up rituals.

The candidate swears to 36 oaths, all of which involve some type of punishment for transgressions. Many of which involve dying the death of a thousand sword cuts or being flayed alive. The head of a chicken is cut off which drips into a wine mixture of sugar-cinnabar, and then the candidate's finger is pricked and the bleeding finger is dipped into the same mixture, after which the candidate sucks his bleeding finger.[57][8]

These oaths given during the initiation ritual have real power. Shadowrunners and others have witnessed what happens when a Triad member betrays his or her comrades. As in a Triad about to stab a comrade in the back who suddenly fell through a wooden floor and into an open crate of bayonets, being stabbed by 20 blades from various angles (death by a hundred swords). Then there is the Triad soldier who cut a deal with the police was found the next morning in the cell, a charred corpse with no evidence of any type of foul play.[58] Other examples are the informant who bled out (death by a thousand cuts) or the oath-breaker who died by electrocution along with someone standing by him (death by five lighting bolts).[1][8]


When entering a new territory, the Triads will often take action to overturn the status quo in the most blatant manner possible. They will disrupt the local syndicate's operations by kidnapping and beating up their "entertainers", roughing up their customers, and so on. The idea being to create a hostile environment for the workers and customers, thereby forcing their rivals out of the racket. Which naturally results in mob wars as the local syndicates fight back.

Since the Triads are the new guys on the block and have the advantage of numbers, the Triads figure that they have almost nothing to lose in such a conflict. The ones who get hurt the most are the local crime syndicates as they lose money and people. Sometimes the other syndicate will give up part of the rackets just to avoid a destructive war that may result in the rackets being shut down.[24] When Triads enter a new territory, they desire absolute control. As in becoming the police, judge, jury, and executioner.[2]

Throughout the West, in the Asian "enclaves" that the Triads control it "appears" as if every resident is either a member of the Triad or an informant.[59] Due to the Triads not having much corporate backing in the West, the Triads are more protective of what territory they have and are continuously looking at ways to expand their moneymaking enterprises.[59]



Triads were the first major crime syndicate to understand the changes happening to the world with the return of magic in 2011 AD. Because of their centuries-long mystical rituals and traditions, the Triads were able to adjust faster than rival groups and therefore became the first to use magic in their operations. Which gave them a stranglehold on the underworld in China and the Golden Triangle, which they continue to maintain till today.[60]

Apart from the fact that they greatly outnumber rival syndicates when it comes to manpower, it is magic which is the biggest edge that the Triads have over rival syndicates.[60] This also applies to magical artifacts, ingredients, and so on. The Triads dominate the talislegging market which naturally gives their members access to the necessary items and ingredients of higher quality and in greater quantities compared to their rivals like the Mafia.[61]

The Triads wrap their operations in mysticism and mystery. It is always the most magic heavy crime syndicate in the criminal underworld and their presence gives all shadowrunners a shiver due to them having to deal with the unknown. The Triads use magic which many Westerners and likely most Asians are unfamiliar with. Usually Triad magic is neither showy or flashy, particularly in the West. Normally it is pervasive and subtle, manifesting as many coincidences and unexplained occurrences.[59] As in orchestrating suicides, causing someone to "fall off the roof" or "step in front of the bus".[62]

Compared to rival syndicates, the Triads have more physical magicians. In confrontations with shadowrunners, the Triads always deploy physical adepts backed by mages or shamans.[59] The magic used by the Triads is so secretive and powerful that even other magical orders fear Triad magic.[2] Triad mages have been shown to possess a varied arsenal of spells including; Lightning Bolt, Flamethrower, Sonic Blast, Magic Manabolt, Stunbolt, Ball Lightning, Manaball, Powerball, Acid Stream, Demolish, Shatter, Armor, Physical Barrier, Improved Invisibility, Phantasms, Levitate, Chaotic World, Increase Reflexes, Combat Sense, Detect Enemies, Confusion, Detect Magic, Heal, Analyze Truth, Detect Life, Silence, and so on.[63][64][65][36][66]

Chinese magic is based on ch'i (life force) and wuxing (five elements - earth, water, fire, metal, and wood). The elements' interrelation results in the dynamics of yang and yin (the negative and positive). Chinese magical tradition has both hermetic and shamanic parts. There are no totems in Chinese magic, but they do summon the forces of nature. Which manifests in the following spell categories: fire (combat), water (illusion), earth (health), wood (detection), and metal (manipulation).[67]

Triad mages also summon the spirits of nature which will usually manifest as creatures of the sea, land, and air (usually as dragonlike spirits), or as demons (kuei) and ancestral ghosts. Chinese magicians are known for heavy use of the "dragon lines" (feng-lung) which are natural power sites and manalines. They usually possess detailed maps of the local dragon lines and know what are the best times and sites to tap the magical power within those lines.[67] In addition the magicians also understand how to use tattoo magic and alchemy as weapons.[68]


Like the Yakuza, when it comes to cyberware the Triads get their high quality cyberware brand new though perhaps not as highly rated as that used by the Yakuza who are generally the best equipped when it comes to cyber.[69][59] Either they collect it from their connections in the corporations or they steal it when they have the chance. Giving them an advantage over the Mafia which relies on secondhand cyberware.[69]

When it comes to augmentation it depends on the Triad. In the case of the cybered Triad soldiers (aka, Sze Kau), they often have truckloads of cyber and many kind of implants. Most of the low-level cybered guys have as much cyberware as any Mafia soldato or Yakuza kobun.[38][63][70][71][72] The difference between the Triads and the Mafia or Yakzua, is that mundane Triad soldiers usually prefer bioware to cyberware, and those that do have cyberware get extensive dermal sheating to cover it up.[2]

While many Triads ban cyberware, there are many other Triads which accept and promote those with cyberware. Due to the former many have foolishly assumed that Triads are against the use of cyberware until its too late.[38][4][47] Rule of thumb in most Triads is if you want to advance far and fast in the Triad it's best if you are either all natural with no cyberware or you have very few implants which are very well-concealed.[38]

Despite the favoritism toward the Awakened, members who are augmented have advanced to the upper tiers of the major Triads.[73] Within the Triads, so far the most influential Shan Chu (Dragonheads or Lodgemasters) have no cyberware whatsoever or the little cyberware they do have is extremely well concealed.[38] Prior to the use of magical rituals to ensure loyalty, the Triads were known for using cranial bombs to ensure that couriers who were implanted with data systems could not be subjected to torture.[74]


When it comes to firepower, the Triads have it in spades. As they are among the biggest arms traffickers in the world and have ties to the warlords of China, the military dictatorship of Sichuan, and the armed forces of the Canton Confederation, the arsenal at their disposal is superior to that of the Mafia. It is a criminal network which outfits whole armies in China with the best weaponry and equipment that the Triads can buy, smuggle, or steal.[75][76][77][1] The most powerful of the Triads, which is the Red Dragons, even has its own military unit and when necessary hires whole mercenary units.[78][79][80]

Triad SoldiersEdit

Sze Kau (49ers) are well-trained in the martial arts and in the use of firearms.[50][81] Which makes them stand out from the thugs who make up the rank-n-file of many other criminal outfits. Triad operatives rely on stealth and on being inconspicuous, but if the situation calls for it the operatives will strike hard and fast.[81] As for Triad hitmen, they (like the Seoulpa hitmen) show more intelligence and imagination than their counterpart hitmen in the Yakuza or Mafia, and have an unfailing aversion to informing on their benefactor.[82]

Compared to the soldiers of the Yakuza (kumi-in) or the Mafia (soldati) who is generally loyal to his outfit because it's the smart move, Triad soldiers (Sze Kau) are fanatically devoted to their Triad. When it comes to the Yakuza or Mafia soldiers, most of them have a breaking point. In turn a Triad soldier will kill or die without question when commanded by their Dragonhead or one of his officers, fearing the retribution of the Triad more than death.[50] Triad operatives are basically the shadowrunners of organized crime. As in they will do everything and anything to succeed, whatever is necessary to benefit the Triad.[2] Being major believers in numerology, Triad crews or posses consist of groups of 2, 3, 8, or 9. In a similar vein they will avoid forming gorups of 4 or 5, which are unlucky in Triad numerology.[83]

Sze Kau (49ers) are usually equipped with ballistic armor (e.g. armor vest or armored jacket) and most of the times armed with automatic firearms (machine pistols, sub-machine guns, and assault rifles). In some cases they are equipped with urban camouflage suits (with vital protectors) or armed with heavy pistols, grenades, high-powered sniper rifles, grenade launchers, shotguns, improvised explosive devices, and military-grade explosives. For melee combat they be equipped with shock staffs or stun batons, or be armed with swords (e.g. jian sword, katana, or vibro-sword) and in addition usually carry knives, daggers, or shuriken.[63][84][85][86][87][72][88][89][90]

Augmented Triad soldiers and specialists (e.g. riggers, deckers, & smugglers) have received such enhancements as cybereyes, wired reflexes, cyberears, dermal armor, cyberarms, bone lacing, cyberguns, muscle augmentation, reaction enhancers, muscle toner, enhanced articulation, reflex recorders, commlinks, datajacks, cerebral booster, synaptic booster, control rigs, and smuggling compartments. Members may also sport LED tattoos on their back and/or on the chest.[63][91][92][93][94][72][95][96][97] The cyberware ranges from basic to alphaware and betaware.[96][98][99][100]


When it comes to Shadowrunners, the Triads are neutral about them as they neither like or dislike shadowrunners. To them shadowrunners are simply mercenaries to be used to the benefit of the organization. It's the experience of shadowrunners that Triad "Johnsons" are often older, superstitious, and talk in metaphors. The Triad will often team the shadowrunners with Triad muscle, whom either help by creating a diversion or acting as backup. If the shadowrunners betray the Triad, retaliation will come thru the use of magic. It's recommended you find yourself a nicely warded place and plan to stay there for the remaining years of your life.[101]

Shadowrunners usually are hired by the Triads to serve as front-line soldiers (often without realizing they work for a Triad). Often the Triads use them to hit their enemies. The Triads are more secretive than either the Mafia or Yakuza, so even if the Shadowrunners know they are working for a Triad or have a longstanding relationship with the Triad, there will be a lot that they are unaware of and will be kept in the dark and be manipulated.[102]

Unlike the Yakuza or Mafia, the Triads won't spend too much time and resources hunting you down if you cost them money, business, or hurt their reputation. They simply will keep raising the stakes. First they send a lower tier street gang to pay you a visit, after which comes a higher tier street gang. Followed by a team of shadowrunners or a perhaps a physical adept, and so on. When sending a message the response depends on how much business, money, or reputation you cost the Triad. So the response may vary from property damage to physical harm, ranging from minor to major.[102]

Criminal EnterprisesEdit

Gambling RacketsEdit

Back home in China and Hong Kong, the Triads own the illegal gambling market. In greater China, the Triads control underground gambling venues, sports betting, online gambling, and so on.[24][44][103] In North America, they are attempting to take market share from the established Yakuza and Mafia gambling operations.[24] In Asian communities throughout North America (the Chinatowns), the Triads run small-time gambling parlors for lotteries, mahjong, fan-tan, and dice games. Which run corrupt games but the customers don't complain and keep coming back.[104] They also run exclusive, discreet, and very high-stakes gambling clubs and casinos which have extensive Matrix and magical security. On top of that these establishments are usually inconspicuous, despite being in high-traffic areas.[105]

For the bloodthirsty, the Triads stage bloodsports. The Triads run underground fights in cities throughout the world, in which humans and metahumans are locked in full contact hand-to-hand combat.[104][106] They have many of the best fighters fitted with recording gear prior to the fights. Giving BTL viewers a no-holds-barred up front view of the world of bare-knuckled brawling in the underground.[107] For the truly jaded degenerate gambler, the Triads offer the ultimate in gambling, where the players risk their own lives. Lethal games as in virtual combat using black IC with neural feedback, the classic Russian roulette, or where the contestants eat poisonous animals or fungi.[108]

Prostitution RacketsEdit

In their home turf back in China and Hong Kong, the Triads own the prostitution market. All types of prostitution in greater China are controlled by the Triads. Everything from dirty, cheap love hotels to high society courtesan brothels, and from streetwalkers to high-class escorts.[24][44][109] Within their home turf, the Triads will give their high-end working girls 1000s in nuyen in cosmetic work.[110] They also import into China "professionals" from throughout the world to work in the pleasure industry.[111]

In North America, they are attempting to take market share from the established Mafia and Yakuza prostitution operations.[24][112] Unlike the Mafia which recruits street kids and runaways into prostitution, most of the Triads (like the Yakuza) bring in "talent" from other countries to work as prostitutes, using false datawork, often as "entertainers", "dancers", and so on.[113] Triad brothels in North America are like any other brothel, the only difference being that most of the employees were brought in illegally and they may be paying off their debt to the smuggling syndicate. The clientele normally come from the working-class. They usually don't perform bio-sculpts on the "workers" or install cyberware on them, as it's not worth the cost due to the clientele. Because of their worldwide people trafficking network, these low-end brothels are pretty common around the world.[105]

That being said, the Triads do operate their own bunraku-type brothels. In which the women have been sculpted and brainwashed (via magic, technology, or other means), becoming a blank programmable meat puppet.[114][115] Among the Triads the one with the largest sex trade network is the Smoke Circle Society, which unlike the other Triads is infamous for buying young girls from poor families and addicting them to drugs turning them into prostitutes.[116][117][118][119]

Brand Counterfeiting RacketsEdit

The Triads run a lucrative counterfeiting racket, especially when it comes to weapons, electronics, media, and the latest fashions. Often the Triads have a plan for a desktop forgery within hours after a new product is announced, before it hits the market. They are often able to sell their duplicates around the world before the corporation that designed it does. It's a similar situation when it comes to their pirating of new media releases.[105] Working in these counterfeit manufacturing facilities are often illegal immigrants and/or refugees (including women and children), who are paying off the debt owed to the Triads for smuggling them into the country. The biggest manufacturer and smuggler of counterfeit goods are the Red Dragons.[89]

Matrix Crime RacketsEdit

When it comes to computer crime their main activity is identity theft and creating false identities, which assists their people trafficking operations. The Triads also have Matrix-accessible gambling houses, but those are not as common. Though they can be lucrative, there is too much competition online so the Triads don't invest too much in that market.[105] Some of the other types of Matrix crime the Triads are into include such things as running Matrix porn sites and performing all-out Matrix invasions.[47][5]

The Triads have become a major power in the Matrix. The Red Dragons has turned the city of Montreal into the Matrix crime capital of North America.[120] A Triad consortium runs an illegal node called the "Flesh Trade" which markets itself as a sex experience which is out of this world. It's part sex party and part brothel, in which a variety of BTL feeds are offered. If you are willing to pay a premium, you can buy customized experiences, living any deviant fantasy you desire. The node's true business is secretly running psychotropic subroutines on the clients.[121]

Protection RacketsEdit

Unlike many other crime syndicates, the Triads (like the Yakuza) will actually provide protection to the those that make protection payments (e.g. local businesses). They will work at reducing street crime on that street, block, community, or district.[75][122][123] If a street gang, another syndicate, or a corporation attempts to intimidate that business, there will be a response from the Triad. Which will involve overwhelming force or the use of their magic assets.[105]

Outside of the Far East, within the Chinatowns and Chinese enclaves of the metroplexes, the locals never betray the Triad to outsiders, even if they are running a protection racket. Those in Western nations who talk to outside authorities are called "hon chew" (bananas - yellow on the outside, white on the inside).[24] Triads promote their organization as the Chinatowns' protector, defending the traditional values of the Chinese people against their enemies in the government and corporations. Though Chinatown residents know that the Triads run the protection rackets, they usually see the city authorities and police as the real threat and therefore refuse to cooperate with law-enforcement when it comes to the Triads.[124]

Smuggling RacketsEdit

The Triads have the world's most extensive and diversified smuggling network. In most cities where the Triads (or Tongs) have a presence, they normally control smuggling.[125] A lot of the merchandise gets sent to China by the Triads, supplying the regional black market. They smuggle weapons, medical supplies, food, art, electronics, pornography, clothing, and other types of contraband throughout the world. It's rumored that they even smuggled blankets and food into the Chicago Containment Zone.[75] Their partners at the other end of the smuggling pipeline are usually other Triads, but if there is no Triad in that location they will contact a local criminal outfit ahead of time and make arrangements. In addition to goods, the Triads also smuggle people, refugees fleeing conflict zones and immigrants looking for a better life.[126]

When it comes to smuggling into war zones, the Triads are experts. They will bring in survival gear into the war zone and bring out; telesma, refugees, and valuable rarities. Often they will supply the combatants on both sides, with both vice-sources and combat equipment. There are incidents where both sides will implement a temporary cease-fire to permit the Triads to make a delivery in a hot zone.[127] During the wars that ravaged China after the fall of the communist regime and its fragmentation, it was the Triads who armed the warlords and kept the conflict going, making a vast fortune arming the combatants and getting rich of the desperate people.[17]

Drug RacketsEdit

In the drug trade, it is the Triads (along with the Ghost Cartels) who are the kingpins when it comes to large-scale growing operations, with organizations such as the Kabul Maffiya being 2nd tier syndicates. They run massive operations that use peasant slave-labor and swarms of drones working the fields, teams of scientists that dream up new drug cocktails, entire communities of indentured workers who process and package the product, armies of mercs and thugs protecting it all, dedicated smuggling crews, and enough lawyers and payed for politicians to make even a dragon wary about getting involved.[128]

In China, the Triads have opium plantations in isolated areas throughout the country. They chemically tinker with the finished produce in laboratories which are more secure than the most important office in the Renraku Arcology. Which results in opium that is far more potent than before. Some of the warlords are "subsidizing" the opium farming in exchange for a slice of the profits, resulting in many of those opium fields being protected by the local military who are equipped with the best weapons and gear that the Triads can smuggle, buy, or steal.[75]

When it comes to the Golden Triangle, they control the trade in both opiates and Awakened drugs grown in that region. From hundreds of thousands of acres, every year the Triads buy the crops. Which are processed into a few drugs (e.g. bliss) and distributed worldwide, usually to Triads in foreign markets. They are also involved in the distribution of Bioengineered Awakened Drugs.[129] The Golden Triangle drug trade alone is a multi-billion nuyen business for the Triads.[10] Controlling the lion's share of the Golden Triangle's drug business is the Smoke Circle Society.[130][131]

Better Than Life Chip RacketsEdit

Most of the production and distribution of BTL programs is controlled by the Triads.[132] Originally BTL chips were produced mostly in the cities of Singapore and Hong Kong. While some were sold to users in Hong Kong, most of the BTL chips ended up in the European and North American markets.[75] Now the production can be done anywhere but most of the distribution is done via the Matrix, often using the same sites that are used to distribute pirated media. One method of getting new customers is by "accidentally" sending a BTL to someone who is looking for cheap entertainment.[132]

When it comes to BTL sales, the Triads dominate the market with BTLs whose product is underground fights, pornography, and surprisingly romance. The majority of their scripted BTLs are of the pornographic and romantic variety. Cheaper to make than action flicks and more profitable, not to mention they have their "talented" staffs at their numerous brothels available to recreate any sexual or romantic encounters desired.[107] In the criminal underworld, the Red Dragons is the largest manufacturer of illegal BTL chips.[133] The biggest trafficker of BTLs though are the Ten Thousand Lions (along with the David Cartel) due to their sources (Wuxing, Inc. and Aztechnology).[134][135][136][48]

People Smuggling RacketsEdit

Since within China there is always political instability somewhere, it means that there are refugees whom are desperate to escape and have a better life somewhere else. The Triads are involved in the smuggling of those refugees to other nations, in exchange for an outrageous upfront fee or laboring as indentured workers until their debt is paid off.[105] The Triads smuggle illegal workers into Japan from Korea and the Philippines (in addition to those from mainland China).[137][138]

Commercial RacketsEdit

Due to the infiltration of corporations by Triad members and their use of bribery and intimidation on corporate staff they have gained much influence over the local branches of various corporations including in the cities of Hong Kong, Neo-Tokyo, Beijing, and New York City. The Triads have also in several cases co-opted the worldwide operations of several corporations, including at least one A-rated megacorporation.[41][139][89]

Historically, the Triads have been involved in the construction industry because its very easy to launder money through building projects.[140] Throughout the Pacific Rim, the Triads have established rackets in the construction industries of many cities. In which they extort corporations involved in the construction industry by threatening damage to construction projects and/or violence to their employees. They also make loads of money from pressuring government officials, fleecing the construction workers, harassing the contractors, and helping in the expediting of permits.[141][142][143]

Triads in the Sixth WorldEdit

Heaven and Earth SocietyEdit

The Heaven and Earth Society is the world's most flexible criminal society. It is this flexibility which has given them their longevity. As the world changes, the Triads have kept up with the times. By creating a culture of influence peddling and corruption, they became an integral part of Chinese culture and therefore the Triads as a whole cannot be eliminated.[11]

The Triads have a viral method of propagation, making it easy for the Triads to spread rapidly to new territories.[144] While the Mafia may have hundreds or a thousands in a city, the Triads are likely to have far more. Historically in Hong Kong, one out of six is a Triad member. Within the city of Hong Kong there are over a million Triad members, though not all are criminals.[8] The average Triad has 1000s of members and worldwide the Triads have millions of members.[145][146]

Of all the world's criminal syndicates and cartels, the Triads are possibly the most ruthless of them all. The influence of the Triads is widely felt, they have a long established tradition, and their crimes can be particularly savage.[147] Most Triad leaders are into symbolism in a big way. Few things are endowed with more symbolism than leaving on your enemy's doorstep the mutilated tortured body of their assassin.[148] When a Triad a discovers a spy or undercover agent within its ranks, they will usually send the infiltrator back to it's employer, in pieces as a warning.[75] Triads are heavily reliant on magic, standing out from other crime syndicates in their use of mystical forces.

Since they lack a central leadership, conflict resolution within the Triads are often bloody and brutal. Yet, they are capable of considerable finesse and restraint if the situation calls for it. That same lack of central control, makes the Triads more flexible in adapting to-and taking over-new territories. The specialty of the Triads is Awakened drugs, as they are very efficient at finding, testing, and preparing the drugs with the best street value.[149]

Global ConspiracyEdit

It is rumored that the supreme leader of the Triads is the great eastern dragon Lung himself. The dragon is the true power behind the most powerful Triad (the Red Dragons) and through them controls many more.[150][151][17][152][153][154][155][156][157] It is also rumored that the great dragon Lung maintains a small magical school whose function is to spread the magical training which is needed to keep the Triads active. A number of Incense Masters proudly make the claim of having studied under the great dragon himself.[158]

There is another rumor that the Triads around the world are actually controlled by the "Ring of the Burning Phoenix". Which consists of seven members, whom are rumored to be the secret leaders of the Triads.[110] Evidence exists that within some of the Triad syndicates there are secret societies whose membership consist only of Han Chinese. Known as the Sai Fan, it has a global membership and includes members from many Triads.[4][159]

Empires of CrimeEdit

The Triad networks extends throughout mainland China, Australia, Southeast Asia, North America, and South America.[49] They also have an extensive people smuggling network throughout Southeast Asia and China that smuggles refugees and illegal immigrants to Australia, Japan, and the UCAS.[160][106][161] In North America, the Triads have turned the city of Montreal into the North American capital of Matrix crime.[120] For the right price, they will even do "murder-for-hire".[161]

Triads have a death grip on criminal activities inside China,[60] and dominate the underworld in Vietnam, Thailand,[47] Malaysia,[147] Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, and the United Kingdom. In Australia, the Triads are the oldest criminal syndicates.[162] The Triads are the dominant criminal power in the region of Southeast Asia, with the Red Dragon Triad, the Smoke Circle Triad, the Black Chrysanthemum Triad, and Hai San extending their control over all of Southeast Asia.[163][164][165] In Russia the Triads have been expanding from their beachhead in Vladivostok to other cities across Russia.[166] Likewise in Japan, they have spread throughout Japan and entrenched themselves.[154][167] They have also have a strong presence in Canada and the United States, though the Mafia and Yakuza continue to be dominant. While they do have lodges in both mainland Europe and South America, they are nowhere near as strong as the Ghost Cartels in South America or either the Vory or Mafia in Europe.

Triads in the Corporate WorldEdit

The Triads hire their services out to various Chinese corporations, especially in both China and Hong Kong. One of the services they provide to those corporations is collecting the rent for them in the slums (e.g Kowloon Walled City).[168][169] They also have established partnerships in which they provide illegal services to the megacorps, such as distributing their BTL chips, providing them with cheap illegal workers, or smuggling illegal components for them.[27][138][170]

They have gained control of whole swaths of the cities within China. Where they may operate with a facade of legitimacy via corporate security contracts and business fronts.[171] There are Triads who appear to work as the private armies or "security arms" of Chinese corporations. Some of the Triads have gone legit or partly legit by investing some of their wealth into start-up companies or corporations.[24] They have also bought out whole firms, such as studios producing CalHots.[172] Like other crime syndicates elsewhere (Yakuza, Ghost Cartels, Mafia, etc), they would naturally invest their wealth in various assets from land to banks, small business to multinational corporations, and so on.

Triads as Freedom FightersEdit

Among all the criminal organizations of murderers, smugglers, drug dealers, thieves, racketeers, and flesh traders, it's the Triads which are the ones who are most likely to stand against oppressive regimes. Partly it's because of their philosophy and how they see themselves, partly it's because of who is being oppressed, and partly it's because of criminal self-interest.

In the totalitarian state of Henan, Triads provide religious and dissident groups with shelter and support. They undermine the government and it's yearly economic plans by flooding the market with cheap copies of consumer products that have been sanctioned by the government. Though the Jo-poks and Yakuza are also participating, it's the Triads which pose the threat to the communists.[173] Further south in totalitarian Vietnam, the Triads are supporting the separatist aspirations of the southern Vietnamese as well as those of the tribals of the Dega Alliance. The Cholon Triad sponsors operations supporting the agenda of the separatists.[174][175]

Over in CalFree the Triads (and Tongs) were among the few who fought on the metahumans' side against the racist Japanese in the Bay Area and their anti-metahuman collaborators. The Triads played a major role in setting up the resistance and continued to maintain the resistance afterwards.[176] They were the standard bearers, leading the fight against the Japanese. Providing the anti-occupation protesters and guerrillas with safehouses, and letting shadowrunners use those safehouses in their runs against the corporations. They were known to let operations hurt their business as long as it hurt the Japanese occupation.[177]

For years the Triads supplied the resistance in the Bay Area with firearms and other supplies, which accelerated during the occupation.[178] Though the Japanese succeeded in nearly wiping out the Worczek Family and the Seoulpa Rings struggled against the Japanese, the Triads waged a spectacular fight against the Japanese.[179]

Triads at WarEdit

When it comes to waging war against their rivals, the Triads have no equal. Triad wars are usually short yet brutal, in which the the Triads use bloodthirsty tactics and wage all-out warfare. It is a mob war which seems like one massive rumble with all-out gun and magic-fests which continue until peace is made, one side is destroyed, or both sides are exhausted.[2][89]

The only mob war in which a great dragon actively participated was the Triad war between the Red Dragons and their rivals the Majestic Peacock Association, with the great eastern dragon Lung personally getting his hands dirty.[180] Among all the mob wars of the Sixth Age so far, the gang war with the greatest scope was the one between the Red Dragons and their rivals the Yellow Lotus which was worldwide, ending in the near annihilation of the latter.[181][48] So far the bloodiest mob war occurred in Hong Kong between the Smoke Circle Society and the Black Chrysanthemum, which resulted in the deaths of 10s of thousands.[89]

The longest and most complex gang war has been the one between the Triads of the great dragon Lung and the Yakuza under the great dragon Ryumyo which has been going on for over five decades.[17][182][183][184][185] The Red Dragons are the only crime syndicate to have its own military force, which has been used in a corporate war recently on the side of their corporate allies, Wuxing Inc.[186][187][188] On top of that, it is possible that the Triads alone among the organized crime groups have access to nuclear technology and material (specifically the Red Dragons).[2]

External Alliances & PartnershipsEdit

Wuxing, IncEdit

The Triads have a long relationship with Wuxing, Inc., the AAA-rated megacorporation. First the Yellow Lotus Triad was its ally, distributing BTL chips around the world. After the near annihilation of the Triad, it was the Ten Thousand Lions which took its place.[189] Recently the Red Dragons have formed an alliance with the megacorporation.[190][191][192]

Miscellaneous CorporationsEdit

The White Lotus Society is intertwined with the A-rated megacorporation, Tan Tien. At least three other major corporations have formed a partnership or alliance with Triads, in this all three with the Red Dragons or its vassals which are the Shiawase Corporation, the Eastern Tiger Corporation, Spinrad Industries, and the Yokogawa Corporation.[193][138][194][170]

Chinese Successor StatesEdit

The Red Dragons have an extensive relationship with the military junta of Sichuan as part of the Great Eastern Dragon Lung's assets.[152] They also have extensive ties to the armed forces of the Canton Confederation The White Lotus Society in turn has an extensive relationship with the provincial governments within the Canton Confederation.[195] The Nine Tigers Organization are intertwined throughout the government and armed forces of Thailand.[47] In the city-state of Hong Kong, the Triads have widespread and deep ties to the ruling Executive Council, especially the Red Dragons.[196][197]

Foreign Criminal GroupsEdit

Due to the Triads worldwide smuggling networks and the fact that they are major producers (drugs, BTLs, & counterfeit goods) and traffickers (weapons, contraband, BTLs, drugs, & counterfeit goods) of various illicit goods, the Triads have established smuggling and distribution partnerships with various non-Chinese criminal organizations around the world.[89]

They have also established long standing relationships with the various drug lords (Chinese and ethnic minority) of the Golden Triangle.[198][199][200][147] Triads have been one of the Filipino Huk's main customers and they have often been the financiers, suppliers, and customers of other Asian pirates.[201][202]

Among the foreign crime syndicates which the Triads are known to have business relationships or alliances with are the Ghost Cartels, the Vory, and the Milieu Marseillas.[44][203][204][205][206] In the West, due to their smaller numbers, they often use "freelance operatives" (street gangs) more than other syndicates as foot soldiers. Usually their opponents will meet the Triad-affiliated gangs first.[59] Gangs in cities such as Seattle (the Tigers) and Hamburg (the Speed Dolls) have been brought under the Triads' umbrella to serve as their agents on the streets.[207][208]

Triads (customized map from Shadowhelix), version 2

Triads (branches and operations)

Nations with TriadsEdit


Southeast AsiaEdit

North AmericaEdit

South AmericaEdit


The Rest of the WorldEdit

Major TriadsEdit

Global TriadsEdit

Pacific Rim TriadsEdit

Eurasian TriadsEdit

Far Eastern TriadsEdit

Minor International TriadsEdit

Minor Hong Kong TriadsEdit

Mainland China TriadsEdit

Indochina TriadsEdit

Australian TriadsEdit

North American TriadsEdit

European TriadsEdit


Considering that in the Shadowrun world, the "White Lotus Society" is considered to be one of the Triads, it would means that the Triads in this world are approximately 800 years old. As the White Lotus Society actually dates back to the 13th century at the latest (see Trivia). Which would mean that the Triads of Shadowrun, ruled China twice. Once during the Ming Dynasty of the 14th-17th centuries (White Lotus Society) and again later during the Kuomintang regime of Chiang Kai-Shek in the 1920s-40s apart from the Japanese-occupied parts and later the Communist rebellion (Heaven & Earth Society). Which would make the Triads of Shadowrun, a force that vastly surpasses the Yakuza, the megacorporations, or the Black Lodge.


Chinese MafiaEdit

In the real world, the Triads are only one type of organized crime among the Chinese. Other forms of organized crime groups are the "Black Societies" (mainland China)[3], the "Jhao Po" (Thailand),[4] and the Tongs. Chinese crime syndicates vary from corporate-like syndicates (China) to quasi-street gangs (e.g. Wah Ching). They number in the 1000s of criminal groups with up to 30 million members in criminal societies in China alone.[5] Based in Hong Kong is what is likely the wealthiest, largest, best organized, and most powerful of all the Chinese Triads and criminal organizations, the Sun Yee On with 50-60,000 members.[6][7][8][9][10][11] Many in the media and the public in general use the word "Triads" to describe all Chinese organized crime, just like the word "Mafia" is often used to describe non-Italian organized crime.

Trillion Dollar EmpireEdit

These are criminal organizations that make $100s of billions annually and perhaps even over a $1 trillion annually. For example the manufacturing and global trade in counterfeit goods is worth hundreds of billions a year, and Chinese organized crime runs most of that business.[12] They also dominate the illegal sports gambling industry (especially the global betting on soccer), likewise worth hundreds of billions. [13] Not to mention tens of billions in other illicit markets in China and Southeast Asia, including; drugs, prostitution, environmental crime (ivory, timber, animal parts, coal, etc), arms trafficking, credit card fraud, etc.[14][15] Back in the 1990s when the Colombian cocaine cartels where in the news, it was the Chinese Triads who were the biggest drug traffickers as they made up to $200 billion annually from the Golden Triangle heroin trade, having controlled the heroin trade coming out of the Golden Triangle since the Vietnam War.[16]

White Lotus SocietyEdit

The "White Lotus Society" is a real secret society which existed in China by the late 13th century in opposition against the Mongol invaders. It was the White Lotus Society which orchestrated the "Red Turban Rebellion" which overthrew the Mongols and restored Han Chinese rule to China. The Ming Dynasty that ruled China for three centuries was established by a member of the White Lotus Society. Centuries later when the Manchu barbarians conquered China, they became part of the resistance against the Manchus along with the original Triads (Heaven & Earth Society).[17][18][19]


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  14. White Lotus Rebellion
  15. White Lotus Society
  16. Red Turban Rebellion
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  35. Tails You Lose
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  43. Shadowrun: Hong Kong
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  54. Blutige Geschafte p.192 (German version of Bloody Business)
  55. World of Shadows
  56. o53846041Spy Games p.81
  57. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.58-59
  58. o16965029Mob War! p.49
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.3 59.4 59.5 o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.91
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 60.4 60.5 60.6 60.7 60.8 o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.53
  61. o59345449Street Magic p.76
  62. o23140942Shadowrun 2050 p.85
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 63.3 o34644862Bad Moon Rising in the East p.20
  64. Blutige Geschafte, p.193 (German version of Bloody Business by Pegasus Games)
  65. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.47
  66. o52781780Jet Set p.163
  67. 67.0 67.1 o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.97
  68. Datapuls: Hamburg p.132 (by Pegasus Games)
  69. 69.0 69.1 o35506625Chrome Flesh p.38
  70. o5185723499 Bottles p.14
  71. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.124-125
  72. 72.0 72.1 72.2 o88375209Artifacts Unbound p.144
  73. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.102
  74. Steel Rain
  75. 75.0 75.1 75.2 75.3 75.4 75.5 o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.56
  76. o33031982Vice p.71-73
  77. o39478620Runner Havens p.23
  78. o9865633210 Mercs p.6-7
  79. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.2-4
  80. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.36-40
  81. 81.0 81.1 o65089325Corporate Punishment p.87
  82. o65320053Hard Targets p.60
  83. Plots and Paydata p.75
  84. Blutige Geschafte, p.192-194 (German version of Bloody Business by Pegasus Games)
  85. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.18
  86. Shadowrun Missions: Take Out Service p.19-20
  87. Shadowrun Missions: Showcase p.20
  88. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.124-125
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 89.3 89.4 89.5 o33031982Vice p.73
  90. Shadowrun Missions: Free Taiwan p.5
  91. Blutige Geschafte, p.192-194 (German version of Bloody Business by Pegasus Games)
  92. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.18
  93. Shadowrun Missions: Take Out Service p.19-20
  94. Shadowrun Missions: Showcase p.20
  95. Shadowrun Missions: By Any Means Necessary p.21
  96. 96.0 96.1 o52781780Jet Set p.24
  97. Shadowrun: Hong Kong p.35
  98. Shadowrun: Hong Kong p.35
  99. Plots and Paydata p.37
  100. World of Shadows
  101. o02196230Run Faster p.208
  102. 102.0 102.1 o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.92
  103. Ancient Files Mirror: Canton Confederation Draft (PDF)
  104. 104.0 104.1 o75212693State of the Art: 2064 p.142
  105. 105.0 105.1 105.2 105.3 105.4 105.5 o33031982Vice p.72
  106. 106.0 106.1 106.2 o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.103
  107. 107.0 107.1 o60859285Attitude p.83
  108. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.16
  109. Ancient Files Mirror: Canton Confederation Draft (PDF)
  110. 110.0 110.1 o23140942Shadowrun 2050 p.98
  111. o34954845Sixth World Almanac p.117
  112. Ancient Files Mirror: Canton Confederation Draft (PDF)
  113. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.19
  114. Datapuls: Hamburg p.70 (by Pegasus Games)
  115. Shadowrun Missions: By Any Means Necessary p.17
  116. o39478620Runner Havens p.27
  117. o39478620Runner Havens p.47-48
  118. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.30
  119. o34644862Bad Moon Rising in the East p.19
  120. 120.0 120.1 120.2 o54409473Montreal 2074 p.13
  121. o25199273Unwired p.172
  122. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.20
  123. o33031982Vice p.21
  124. o21377451Target: UCAS p.42
  125. o13148767Lockdown p.48
  126. o33031982Vice p.71-73
  127. o33031982Vice p.71-73
  128. o80643476Arsenal p.70
  129. o33031982Vice p.71-73
  130. o39478620Runner Havens p.47-48
  131. o34644862Bad Moon Rising in the East p.19
  132. 132.0 132.1 o33031982Vice p.71
  133. o88375209Artifacts Unbound p.94-95
  134. o39478620Runner Havens p.46-47
  135. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.103
  136. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.130
  137. 137.0 137.1 o61900501Ghost Cartels p.110
  138. 138.0 138.1 138.2 o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.71
  139. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.41
  140. o52781780Jet Set p.19
  141. o39478620Runner Havens p.36
  142. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.14
  143. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.69
  144. o33031982Vice p.65-66
  145. Striper Assassin
  146. Steel Rain
  147. 147.0 147.1 147.2 147.3 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.170
  148. Striper Assassin
  149. o35238545Shadowrun Fifth Edition Core Rulebook p.34
  150. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.3-4
  151. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.44-47
  152. 152.0 152.1 152.2 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.46
  153. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.48
  154. 154.0 154.1 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.82
  155. o45457298Dragons of the Sixth World p.112
  156. 156.0 156.1 o45457298Dragons of the Sixth World p.117
  157. o77009313Storm Front p.48
  158. o33031982Vice p.67
  159. o39478620Runner Havens p.86-87
  160. o57038227Target: Awakened Lands p.38
  161. 161.0 161.1 o87427754Seattle 2072 p.178
  162. 162.0 162.1 o57038227Target: Awakened Lands p.27
  163. 163.0 163.1 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.148
  164. o39478620Runner Havens p.45-47
  165. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.102-103
  166. o34954845Sixth World Almanac p.151
  167. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.107-110
  168. o29448791Corporate Intrigue p.51
  169. o39478620Runner Havens p.26
  170. 170.0 170.1 o44543375The Rotten Apple: Manhattan p.31
  171. o34954845Sixth World Almanac p.116
  172. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.28
  173. 173.0 173.1 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.43
  174. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.51
  175. 175.0 175.1 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.157
  176. o20709502California Free State p.57
  177. o20709502California Free State p.63
  178. o38715534Shadows of North America p.50
  179. o38715534Shadows of North America p.51
  180. o16965029Mob War! p.61
  181. o39478620Runner Havens p.6
  182. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.82
  183. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.107-110
  184. o77009313Storm Front p.48-49
  185. o77009313Storm Front p.60
  186. o9865633210 Mercs p.6-7
  187. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.2-4
  188. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.36-40
  189. o39478620Runner Havens p.46-47
  190. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.2-4
  191. o01399750Battle of Manhattan p.36-40
  192. Blutige Geschafte p.190-192 (German version of Bloody Business by Pegasus Games)
  193. o39478620Runner Havens p.42
  194. Shadowrun Missions: Everyone's Your Friend p.14
  195. Ancient Files Mirror: Canton Confederation Draft (PDF)
  196. o39478620Runner Havens p.23
  197. o39478620Runner Havens p.36
  198. o39478620Runner Havens p.47-48
  199. o33031982Vice p.53
  200. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.148-49
  201. o98082743Cyberpirates! p.77
  202. o39478620Runner Havens p.49-50
  203. o61900501Ghost Cartels p.100-103
  204. Geisterkartelle p.136 (German extended version of Ghost Cartels by Pegasus Games)
  205. Geisterkartelle p.143 (German extended version of Ghost Cartels by Pegasus Games)
  206. Geisterkartelle p.146-150 (German extended version of Ghost Cartels by Pegasus Games)
  207. o16965029Mob War! p.50
  208. Datapuls: Hamburg p.136 (by Pegasus Games)
  209. 209.0 209.1 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.161
  210. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.39
  211. 211.0 211.1 211.2 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.154
  212. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.153
  213. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.151
  214. o38715534Shadows of North America p.51
  215. o35702881Shadowrun Third Edition p.317
  216. o38715534Shadows of North America p.122-123
  217. o65320053Hard Targets p.124-125
  218. o38715534Shadows of North America p.35
  219. o45457298Dragons of the Sixth World p.116
  220. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.196
  221. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.47
  222. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.89
  223. Datapuls: Hamburg p.132 (by Pegasus Games)
  224. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.130
  225. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.205
  226. o49943949Cutting Aces p.52