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Joining Red Dead Online’s most hardcore posse isn’t easy

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The Reaper Lords make prospective members run the gauntlet

a line of armed horseback riders on the plains in Red Dead Online Rockstar Games via Dirty_Worka

The Reaper Lords are not your typical Red Dead Online clan. Only a small percentage of people ever make it into the crew. To join, you’ve got to prove that you’re devoted to the cause — which means passing a series of tests.

If the name sounds familiar, perhaps you remember the Reaper Lords from GTA Online, where players formed a hardcore biker gang with its own turf, dress code, hierarchy, and code of conduct. With the release of a new Rockstar game, the group has primarily moved to Red Dead Online, where they have replaced motorcycles with horses. Even in the Wild West, however, the group has maintained its trademark diehard attitude.

“Our recruiting process takes months,” said Reaper Lord leader Dirty_Worka. During this time period, Reaper Lord hopefuls are tasked with all sorts of tests. One example mentioned by Dirty_Worka involved espionage: Recruits may be asked to do recon on other in-game groups, and to write detailed reports on member activity and location.

Recruits must also develop unique events for the group as a whole, such as horse wrangling challenges and elaborate man hunts against full-blown members. Once they’ve got a concept, recruits have to actually build hype and momentum for their events using flyers and word of mouth. Reaper Lords also challenge recruits to test out their skills — which is how the Reaper Lords ended up putting a bona-fide horse show in Red Dead Online over the weekend. Like their real-world counterparts, horse shows are meant to be exhibitions that display the capabilities of different horse breeds.

The choreography took two weeks of preparation, largely because the recruits could not verbally communicate during the demonstration. This gag stipulation was meant to test how well the recruits could work together, Dirty_Worka explained. As the Reaper Lords have 70 members, the crew believes it is important for newbies to develop good teamwork skills.

The camaraderie goes beyond a video game. Since its inception as a group, the Reaper Lords have blown up and now host regular meet-ups, and the members even help each other out in real life. Members even ride motorcycles together. That biker background has proved useful in the transition to Red Dead Online.

“The biggest thing with the horses is to understand stopping and going is like shifting gears,” Dirty_Worka said on Twitter.

“We are definitely a rare breed,” Dirty_Worka said. “I know of no other crews that go to the lengths we do to ensure members are fully committed ... From running charity events to meet-ups IRL, we need to know members are of the highest character.”

If any of this sounds cool, it’s worth noting that the Reaper Lord are currently recruiting, though be warned — you may not make the cut.

“Only about 1 percent of prospective members ever make it in,” Dirty_Worka said.