The Players' Guide to the Cities/Enemy Groups
There are dozens of gangs, criminal cartels, paramilitary groups, law enforcement organizations, and mystic orders at work throughout Paragon City and the Rogue Isles. Be aware that your enemies will have ranks within their organization. Minions are line troops, lieutenants are officers, and bosses are commanders. Be much more cautious of lieutenants and especially bosses than you would be with a minion of the same consideration color. Leaders tend to have abilities that make them particularly dangerous.
A comprehensive list of all the various factions in the game can be found here.
Early in your character's career, you are most likely to run into a few specific groups. A brief synopsis of some of these groups follows:
The Skulls and The Hellions
These are Paragon City’s two base-level street gangs. Although they are not the most highly-powered supervillains in the city, they are quite prosperous thanks to their control of the street-level market for the powerboosting drug Dyne. The Hellions claim Atlas Park and Galaxy City, while the Skulls control Kings Row. The two gangs are engaged in a turf war over the outer regions of Perez Park.
The Skulls wear skeleton masks. Minions are called Gravediggers and lieutenants are called Death Heads. The bosses, called Bone Daddies, specialize in negative energy attacks. The Hellions wear elaborate demonic makeup. Their minions are called Blood Brothers and lieutenants are The Fallen. The bosses call themselves The Damned and use flame powers.
The Clockwork are small robots. If they weren’t so dangerous they’d look rather cute. They even have absurd rotating keys projecting out of their backs, like a mechanical toy. They wander industrial areas looking for scrap, and attack anyone who disturbs them with electrical blasts. Clockwork minions are divided between Sprockets, the somewhat larger and more powerful Cogs, and the hovering Oscillators. Clockwork bosses are called Knights, Dukes, and Princes, leading to speculation that there’s a Clockwork King behind the whole surreal endeavor somewhere.
Circle of Thorns
With powers drawn from the murky well of prehistoric occult lore, the Circle of Thorns is Paragon City’s most powerful and widespread magical cabal, with followers that run the gamut of power from the most basic to the very highest elites. They are known to kidnap innocents for sacrificial rites. Their lowest-level operatives are guards; normal humans who seem to hold the Circle in cultish devotion. The most proficient of these guards are dubbed Thorn Wielders. The guards protect the Circle mages, who command potent mystic power. The lowest tier of mages are called the Life Mages, with Energy, Force, and Soul Mages making up the higher echelons of the Circle’s magical brotherhood. It is rumored that at the highest levels of power, the Circle can command ancient spirits to come and fight on their behalf.
In recent history, the villain group known as the 5th Column were overthrown from within. Certain high-ranking 5th Column officers were actually agents of another villain group, and when they saw that the time was right, they subverted the 5th Column and transformed it almost overnight into the military machine known as The Council.
Low level Council operatives are organized into paramilitary units. The line troops call themselves Nebula and wear uniforms. The special ops forces are called Penumbra, and there persist rumors of an elite force calling themselves Vortex.
The Council are one of the most pervasive and powerful criminal organizations in the world with forces who range in power level from the lowest to the very highest. It’s said that The Council uses robotic troops to threaten more powerful heroes, while the most terrible forces of the organization are barely human, resembling monsters of legend.
Their main base of operation is Striga Isle, but they are quite efficient at quickly setting up temporary bases of operation anywhere in the city.
The grotesque Vahzilok are perhaps the most hideous, if not the most powerful, criminal gang in the city. They are notorious for kidnapping innocents off the street and using them for horrible experiments in vivisection and revivification. The Vahzilok are constantly surrounded by a foul miasma of death.
Vahzilok operatives call themselves Reapers; senior Reapers are called Mortificators. They command forces of Cadavers — reanimated corpses — and Abominations, which are Cadavers who have been surgically modified for extra size and power. Some Cadavers and Abominations (which the Vahzilok refer to as "embalmed," in a ghastly jest) are modified to be undead bombs that explode when attacked. As repellent as the Vahzilok line troops are, the most feared Vahzilok are the mysterious and weirdly beautiful Eidolons, who command formidable energy powers.
Arachnos was formed from the ashes of an Italian Fascist organization. Born in the fires of World War II, Arachnos's leader, Lord Recluse, has taken over the Rogue Isles east of Paragon City and is using it as a staging ground to destroy the City of Heroes.
Arachnos is a multifaceted and deadly group. They are skilled in information control, blackmail, espionage, and assassination (of both mortals and superbeings). They boast a potent military force and employ—overtly and covertly—numerous supers in a wide variety of roles.
The official military and police force is the Spider City Security Force (SCSF). SCSF is further broken down into several specialized departments, each of which serves a particular role.
The operation was named Project Longbow because its founders anticipated many long-range preemptive assaults and arrests. The soldiers who serve in Project Longbow are volunteers from around the world who place themselves under Freedom Corps's control.
Freedom Corps itself is loosely allied with NATO, which grants the corps its military hardware.
These slithering reptilian beings are a fairly primitive race and dwell in large numbers beneath the surface of Mercy Island. They rise to the surface to show pesky humans who rightfully owns this place.
The Family's challenger for control of the Rogue Isles is Guido "The Mooch" Verandi, the former consigliere to Emil Marcone's imprisoned father, Manuel Marcone. Verandi's faction is called the Mooks; members wear a purple band (armband, hatband, or other wardrobe accessory) that visually marks their allegiance.
The meteors that crashed into Bloody Bay are actually pieces of a massive creature from the depths of space. The shards of the meteorite retain that creature's consciousness and are capable of raising "servants" from the corpses of the dead via long tendrils snaking through the soil. These new beings are not undead, however. They simply use the bones, memories, and the essence of corpses to create a new being made of protoplasmic energy.