Triads from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Mob War

The Triads are one of many criminal organizations commonly found in Chinese communities. The name "triad" comes from the interpretation by the English of the symbols of the Hung Sun, a secret society opposed to the English occupiers during the 17th century China. The triangle symbol represented the relationship between Heaven, Earth, and Man.

Heaven and Earth SocietyEdit

Triads (Heaven and Earth Society) are the world's oldest criminal organization, almost 400 years old. It's the most flexible criminal society which has resulted in such 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.[1] The Triads have a viral method of propagation, making it easy for the Triads to spread rapidly to new territories.[2] While the Mafia may have hundreds or a thousands in a city, the Triads are likely to have far more.

Major Triads: 33

Members: 1,000,000 [3]

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.[4] Triads are heavily reliant on magic, standing out from other crime syndicates in their use of mystical forces. It is rumored that the supreme leader of the Triads is the great eastern dragon Lung.

Triads 2 from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Underworld


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.[5]

  • The leader of the Triad is the Shan Chu (Lodge Master - 489) who is a quasi-legitimate businessman whom has very little to no contact with the rank and file members.[6]
  • Below are the "483" ranked members. The Fu Shan Chu (Deputy Lodge Master, the top ranked 483) who handles the day-to-day management of the Triad. Next are two of equal rank; the Heung Chu (Incense Master) who is a mage and enforces tradition, and the Sin Fung (Guardian) who does the recruiting. Last are the Sheung Fa (Double Flower), whom the Triads send out to establish new branches of the Triad.[6]
  • At the next level are the officers of the Triad, starting with the Hung Kwan (Red Pole, 426) who is the military commander whose job is to coordinate the underling gangs. The Pak Tsz Sin (White Paper Fan, 415) is an accountant who is also in charge of Matrix activities. The Cho Hai (Grass Sandal, 425) is the public face of the Triad when it comes to gangs and businesses, who pays and collects the graft and bribes.[6]
  • Rank-n-file members are the Sze Kau (49), the enforcers of the Triad. Said enforcers may officially act as muscle or security. They may be in charge of running a business or safehouse. Perhaps they are hitmen who few know about.[6]
Triads from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Underworld


The Triads are involved in a wide variety of criminal activities, as well as legitimate business activities. When it comes to the Golden Triangle, they control the trade in both opiates and Awakened drugs grown in that region. The Triads likewise control most of the BTL trade. Vice is an old standby, both gambling and prostitution. Manufacturing counterfeit goods, human trafficking, and the smuggling of both legal and illegal goods are all activities that the Triads are deeply involved in doing.[7]

Triads have a death grip on criminal activities inside China,[8] and dominate the underworld in Vietnam, Thailand,[9] Malaysia,[10] Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, and the United Kingdom. In Australia, the Triads are the oldest criminal syndicates.[11] In the United Kingdom, the Triads are the largest syndicates with the most extensive operations.[12] The Triads are the dominant criminal power in the region of Southeast Asia, with the Big 3 Triads (Red Dragons, Smoke Circle Society, and Black Chrysanthemum) extending their control over all of Southeast Asia.[13] They have a strong presence in Japan, Canada, and the United States. They are present in both mainland Europe and South America, but are minor players in those two regions.


Triads recruit through both relatives and active street gangs. Among the Chinese diaspora they also recruit from the Tongs.[14] Not only do they recruit Chinese but also other Asians and non-Asians, both human and metahuman, and even women. Han Chinese dominate the Triads, both in numbers and in leadership positions. They outnumber and usually outrank other ethnic Chinese who in turn outrank other Asians. Westerners are below the Chinese. Metahumans and occasionally women have held leadership or positions of power.[15] It's estimated that in the Hong Kong sprawl, the Triads have up to a million members.[3]

Triads from Shadowrun Vice Sourcebook


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).[16] 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.[6]

Triad philosophyEdit

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 war, 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 benefit afterwards. They have many law-abiding SINers among their members. Triads see all their members are part of their family.[15]


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. 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.[8]

Nations and City-States with TriadsEdit

(worldwide network)


Southeast Asia:

Rest of the World:

List of TriadsEdit

Four Winds


Asia, Cambodia
Phoenix Lodge


Asia, Canton Confederation
White Lotus Society


Asia, Canton Confederation
Black Chrysanthemum


Asia, Canton Confederation, Macao


Asia, Hong Kong
Red Dragon Association


Asia, Hong Kong
Smoke Circle Society


Asia, Hong Kong
Ten Thousand Lions


Asia, Hong Kong
Onyx Turtle Lodge


Asia, Henan
Eighty-Eights Triad


Asia, Singapore
Hai San


Asia, Singapore
Nine Tigers Organization


Asia, Thailand
Cholon Triad


Asia, Vietnam
Golden Triangle Society


Grass Sandals


Green Gang


Wading Bird Triad


Silent Reeds Tong


Europe, United Kingdom, London
Golden Dragon


North America, San Francisco, California Free State
Sapphire Crane Society


North America, Pueblo Corporate Council, Los Angeles
Twenty-Eight Hands


North America, Pueblo Corporate Council, Los Angeles
Large Circle League


North America, New York City
Yellow Lotus


North America, UCAS, Seattle
Octagon Triad


North America, UCAS, Seattle
Mutual Prosperity League


North America, UCAS, Boston
Red Lotus Triad


North America, Salish-Shidhe Council, Vancouver
Twenty-Eight Cranes


South America, Chile, Santiago
Dragon under the Sea Triad


South America, Caribbean League, Mariel
Snake Head Triad


Asia, Japan, Yokohama
Red Lantern Triad


Asia, Turkestan, Tashkent
Si Peng Family


Europe, United Kingdom, Nottingham
Xiao Ziang Family


Europe, United Kingdom, Manchester
Broze Jian Triad


Asia, Hong Kong


  1. o33031982Vice p.65
  2. o33031982Vice p.65-66
  3. 3.0 3.1 o33031982Vice p.66
  4. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.170
  5. o33031982Vice p.66-67
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 o33031982Vice p.69
  7. o33031982Vice p.71-73
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.53
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 o33031982Vice p.70
  10. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.170
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 o57038227Target: Awakened Lands p.27
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 o30783549Shadows of Europe p.196
  13. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.148
  14. o33031982Vice p.66
  15. 15.0 15.1 o33031982Vice p.68
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 o39478620Runner Havens p.45
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.27
  18. 18.0 18.1 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.43
  19. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.46
  20. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.161
  21. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.39
  22. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.170
  23. 23.0 23.1 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.157
  24. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.161
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.154
  26. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.153
  27. 27.0 27.1 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.148
  28. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.151
  29. 29.0 29.1 o38715534Shadows of North America p.51
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 o35702881Shadowrun Third Edition p.317
  31. 31.0 31.1 o45457298Dragons of the Sixth World p.117
  32. o38715534Shadows of North America pp.122-123
  33. o65320053Hard Targets p.124-125
  34. o45457298Dragons of the Sixth World p.116
  35. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.130
  36. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.103
  37. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.205
  38. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.47
  39. o39478620Runner Havens p.46
  40. o39478620Runner Havens p.47
  41. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.32
  42. o39478620Runner Havens p.47-48
  43. o39478620Runner Havens p.46-47
  44. o33031982Vice pg.34
  45. o33031982Vice p.74
  46. o38715534Shadows of North America p.98
  47. o33031982Vice p.73-74
  48. o21377451Target: UCAS p.42
  49. o38715534Shadows of North America pp.122-123
  50. o65320053Hard Targets p.124-125
  51. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.103
  52. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.205
  53. o66933837London Sourcebook p.49
  54. o66933837London Sourcebook p.49
  55. o23140942Shadowrun 2050 p.98


See alsoEdit

External linksEdit