In this 16th installment for the City of Rookroost we take a look at the fourth and final installment of People of Interest. Once again thanks to everyone that have given me inspiration from Nigel Findley, Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Frederick Weining, Casey Brown, and all the fabulous BK authors and lastly Gygax himself.
Riziln: (Guild Master of the Guild of Wizardry) Riziln has been a member of the Guild of Wizardry since the days of Elshore and was his apprentice before rising in skill and becoming a member of the guild herself. Her appearance has changed very little in nearly two hundred years, and the only sign of getting older are streaks of gray hair at her temples. Many have often mistaken her as a servant when visiting the Guild of Wizardry. She rarely smiles or shows any emotion, which has gained her the nickname the “Cold Hearted One.” She favors plane robes and wears only magical jewelry.
Riziln has held her Guild Master position for over fifty years, and during that time, the guild has become the strongest it has ever been. Organizing the guild into a safe place where wizards can experiment without government interference or overly interested parties snooping into their business has drawn many wizards to the guild. Membership has plummeted since the war, but with a semblance of stability coming back to Rookroost, many of those who fled are returning.
Before the Arrival of Mortoth, the Guild of Wizardry had a stranglehold on magic in the city and performed many minor magics and some advanced magics for the ruling elite and high ranking guild masters. By making themselves indispensable to business in Rookroost, Riziln ensured their position of power within the city. When the wizards perform these tasks, they often weave backdoors into all the spells. These secret passwords disarm wards or turn them against their owners. The guild has also secretly cast many scrying magics throughout the city, allowing them to gather much information.
The Guild of Wizardry, particularly Riziln, has a cordial relationship with the Congress and Elara. Despite her best efforts to persuade and even intimidate the guild, the wizards remain neutral towards the thieves. Riziln knows that becoming allied with any faction would undermine their overall standing in the city. Despite this, Riziln is afraid of the possible chaotic mess that could be unleashed on the city if Iuz wishes it. Sensing Mortoth's wish for independence from Iuz, Riziln has been secretly building a stable alliance with Mortoth.
Tips for running Riziln: Meeting Riziln will not be easy for characters as she doesn’t meet with the general public, and when she does, it’s only with wizards. A wizard would also have to show promise and have already met with the wizards in charge of recruitment first. Looking to hire the guild's wizards would not even gain characters access to a meeting unless the amount of coin involved was substantial. She might however, hire characters to do an odd job for her. Still, even then, their reputation would have to be such that they would be considered better than what she could hire from the local guilds. Riziln is calculating and cautious in her moves. Her primary objective is to ensure that the guild and her guild members can survive the current crises. She is even considering a possible movement of the guild to a secret location outside of the Bandit Kingdoms.
Seltin (Owner of Seltin’s Stables): Seltin the half-elf is the best-known scout in Rookroost. Having led countless bands of brigands on raids for years, Seltin was in high demand up until his retirement. Even after his retirement, this knowledge has brought him much wealth as he hires and trains other scouts that he hires out to raiding parties. None of the scouts he trains know all of his secrets, and those he does teach jealously keep what they've been shown a secret.
Seltin is a middle-aged half-elf, and his once blonde hair is now streaked with gray. His features are still handsome, and his easy nature and quick smile hide a very dangerous man. He is skilled with a bow and is still a deadly knife fighter. Never one to take a problem head-on when he could ambush it, Seltin is still well respected, especially among the bandits of Rookroost.
Seltin called it quits just before the war and sunk all his money into his Stables and scouting business. Seltin's Stables sells and rents horses and scouts for marauding parties and merchant caravans year-round. His inn and stables are a couple of miles outside of town. Far enough from Outwall, he doesn’t have to worry about the riffraff that lives there. Seltin has become the first stop for most caravans either coming into or traveling out of Rookroost.
Seltin knows a lot of people, and not just in Rookroost. He still keeps in touch with all of his contacts outside of the lands of the Free Lords and exchanges information with them regularly. He doesn’t sell the information but uses it to help his scouts do their job to the best of their abilities. Seltin’s scouts are so renowned that generals in neighboring kingdoms have attempted to bribe him to help plan possible invasions into the Bandit Kingdoms.
Seltin realizes that the days of living like a king in Rookroost are coming to an end. He has been hoarding coin and grooming a number of his scouts as possible replacements if they can afford it. Still, Seltin will most likely sell his business to Serinar when he leaves.
Tips on running Seltin: It’s easy for adventurers to meet Seltin. All they have to do is stop by Seltin’s Stables. He will be wandering the compound greeting customers and pumping them for information while being a gracious host. Besides the teamsters, scouts, and other work hands Seltin, employs mercenaries to guard his compound.
Serinar (Guild Master of the Merchant’s League): Serinar, the head of the Merchant’s League, is a relatively recent transplant to Rookroost. A pompus high elf, Serinar is a rare sight in the city. Rumors are that Serinar is on the run from his folk, and picked Rookroost because of its location in lands inhospitable to his kin.
Serinar could have sought admission into the Guild of Wizardry upon arriving in Rookroost as he is a very accomplished wizard but elected not to. Instead, he set himself up as a merchant and joined the Merchant's League. Serinar’s hates inefficiency and is a master at organizing and streamlining procedures to suit the situation. Because of these skills, he rose through the ranks quickly. Then with some well-placed bribes, and assassinations he became Guild Master. The fact that Serinar did so during the turbulent years at the onset of the war and after the city's occupation helped him tremendously.
Tall for an elf, and always dressed in the finest clothes, Serinar is a handsome elf and has no end of suitors looking to draw his attention. But his cold manner usually turns those interested in his company away. Serinar’s main goal is amassing as much wealth as possible and working on his constructs. He is extremely bitter about his banishment from his lands in the West, and revenge against his family is a driving force for him.
Serinar’s has substantial influence as the Guild Master of the Merchant’s League. Only Mortoth and Elara Mornstar have more influence in Rookroost than Serinar. He will work with anyone, and while he drives a hard bargain, he is not unfair. Serinar realizes that he will be spending many years in the city, and making enemies while he is here will only hamper his agenda. If he is said to be friendly with anyone in the city it would be Mortoth. He is his biggest supporter, openly and privately. Serinar’s realizes that his plans would be struck a severe blow if another of Iuz's subordinates were assigned to rule Rookroost.
Tips on running Serinar: Adventures will have a hard time meeting Serinar, unless of course they are also merchants or posing as merchants. Serinar meets potential members in his office, which is heavily laden with scrying and other magics to determine when someone is lying to him. He also has magical items on his person that allows him to see through illusions and other magical disguises but not physical ones. Two of his personally constructed Iron Constructs guard him at all times.
Arus Mortoth (Governor of Ravensrook, General of Izmul): After Rookroost signed their treaty with Iuz none thought any good would come of it. It might not have seemed like it to the conquered, but Mortoth is not your typical minion of Iuz and is far less chaotic in his style and demeanor than expected. And after scheming his way into the political scene has enacted many changes to strengthen Rookroost.
Mortoth, like Iuz, is a half-fiend, and because of his infernal blood is a large and very imposing figure with scarlet skin, jet black hair, horns, and cloven-hooved feet. Dressing in dark crimson clothes and armor, he wields a spear and a wicked morning star in battle. His natural fiendish abilities and freakish strength make him more than a match for any foe he has met on the battlefield. Unlike most of Iuz’s commanders, he also sees the value in strategy and loyalty. His personal troops, the Red Guard, well are fanatical in their devotion to him and obey him over even Iuz. He has been known to fly off into rages but only in battle. Mortoth despises Iuz and his realm. He was born and inherited his father's holdings after killing him, not a simple task as his father was a demon bound to Iuz’s service.
Mortoth knows he was assigned occupying Rookroost because he has the temperament manage it and not turn it into a pile of smoldering cinders. He also knows he gained the position to test his loyalty and tempt him into betraying Iuz. Mortoth looks forward to doing just that when the time is right despite the Demi-lord’s anticipation of it.
Treason has been on Mototh’s mind since before the war when he went about building his personal army. Even when in the capital of, Dorakaa, Mortoth, was respectful, but only to Iuz. This attitude has made Mortoth many enemies amongst the Boneheart, many of whom scheme to topple him out of Iuz’s favor, where he remains even to this day. Cranzer, the overall commander of Iuz's forces in the Bandit Kingdoms, hates Mortoth with a passion. He would be scheming himself to bring down Mortoth if he wasn't so busy with trying to stomp out rebels in the Fellreev Forest and the Rift Cayon.
Tips on running Mortoth: Adventurers in Rookroost will find it hard to meet with Mortoth, but not as hard as meeting Riziln, Serinar, or Elara. Mortoth is continually looking to recruit as many competent swords as possible into his Red Guards for the inevitable war he will need to fight. If adventurers with sufficient reputation seek an audience with him, he will most likely grant it if he thinks there is a chance that he might recruit them. Mortoth runs a tight ship, and Rookroost has seen many positive changes since he has become the General. Those changes have won him some respect amongst the common folk, especially those not of the guilded elite. These changes have also won him many enemies among those very same guilded elites. Mortoth is working hard to forge alliances with those elites that he can while quietly trying to replace those that remain defiant.
In this 15th installment for the City of Rookroost we take a look at the third installment of People of Interest. Once again thanks to everyone that have given me inspiration from Nigel Findley, Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Frederick Weining, Casey Brown, and all the fabulous BK authors and lastly Gygax himself.
Harald Grimm: (Commandant of the Talons) Harald Grimm, often referred to as Harald the Grimm behind his back, is a dower man that never seems happy and is constantly scowling. Harald is an imported man that came to Rookroost a few years before the war from lands unknown, but it’s believed to be from Tenh. Not long after arriving in Rookroost, he found work in the Talons, which he took very seriously. Unfortunately, he was relegated to the worst details as he was not willing to partake in bribes. However, his reputation served him well, and since the reordering of the Talons by Mortoth, Grimm rose through the ranks quickly until he became the commandant.
Harald is a competent swordsman and has no illusions about what he is and isn’t capable of. Still in the prime of his physical life, Harald trains regularly with his men. Grimm has the full respect of the Talons. Grimm’s philosophy is simple, they protect Rookroost, and without Rookroost, he has no career anymore.
Tips on Running Harald: Adventurers might meet Harald as he goes about his work in the city, and he is constantly looking for competent men and women to add to the ranks of the Talons. He is no-nonsense and seems to care for little else besides his job. Attempts to bribe or intimidate him will fall flat, and while he might not attempt to arrest anyone who tries it when it happens, he will make a mental note of it and do so when it's more to his advantage.
Harmaz: (Gravediggers Guild Master) While Harmaz doesn’t volunteer the information, it is a well-known fact that he is a necromancer of sorts. A worshiper of, Nerull, Harmaz is considered a scholar when it comes to his god and worship of him. Harmaz has spent his entire life in the Rookroost cemetery, having been adopted by the priests when he was just a street urchin with a fascination with death.
Harmaz is mild-mannered and sees death as just a part of the great cycle. He does not wear armor or wield weapons but instead relies on his god's gifts to help in times of need. Most would take Harmaz for a librarian or an accountant if it wasn’t for his black robes decorated with skulls.
As the head of the Gravediggers Guild, Harmaz also controls the cities cemetery and works directly with the Night Merchants in the collecting of the dead. The city's affairs concern him only slightly as it is where he and his associates get the things they cannot manufacture themselves. However, he is concerned for the restrictive nature of Iuz and the possibility that they might outlaw the worship of Nerull, something that he would not abide. If forced Harmaz and his fellow priests and members of the Gravediggers Guild would be forced to unleash their undead army upon the Great Old One’s minions to ensure their ability to continue to worship as they saw fit.
Tips on Running Harmaz: The only way that adventurers would meet Harmaz would be to venture into the cemetery where the Gravediggers guildhall is located as he rarely ventures into the city, and even then, it is in a windowless black coach. However, if there are characters interested in death or are possibly worshipers of Nerull, Harmaz will always have time for them. While Harmaz is sympathetic to fellow worshipers of Nerull, his generosity will only go so far, and requests for undead or other spell like abilities will be politely turned down.
Karst: (Leader of the Horned Society Rebels) Karst is, unfortunately, easy to spot no matter where he goes, and he takes caution to hide his heritage of being a half-drow. Universally hated by nearly all surface dwellers and most in the Underdark, hiding is a way of life for any half-drow that is ever sired. When moving about the city, he usually wears a disguise. His average build, bald head, and dark eyes provide him with an adequate palate to blend in, with his purplish hued skin being the only real giveaway.
Rumors are that Karst, along with several other of his kind, are the result of an abandoned project of the Horned Society to breed Drow males with human females to produce an army of crossbreeds. The inconsistency of the offspring led to the cancelation of the project. It is also rumored that it had drawn the Drow's attention who wanted to shut it down.
Karst prefers to engage in combat at a distance with a short bow or throwing daggers before closing the gap where he uses light weapons to make pinpoint strikes. When not in combat Karst relies on his silver tongue and mind-altering magic to get his way in hopes that he can avoid violence.
Karst is loyal to the Horned Society and is their top agent in the city. Unlike the others who oppose the forces of Iuz, Karst's main duty is to gather information from the region and funnel it back to the remaining Hierarchs. This does not exclude him from the odd assassination if the opportunity presents itself, but like most of the city's rebels, his main goal is to intercept the tribute sent from the city north to Iuz.
Tips on Running Karst: Karst tries not to engage with people directly. Instead, he relies on intermediaries and go-betweens. Most of them think that they are helping the Congress as Karst often pretends to be one of their members to interact with others. The adventurers could come in contact him when he tries to employ them for a job as he prefers to use those new to the city and unfamiliar with those in charge.
Kostana: (Second in command of Mortoth's host of Iuzians) Kostana is a fierce fighter and loyal to the Great Old One. Her loyalty is not based out of love of the half-demon but simply because she feels that she can gain far more within Iuz's power structure than in the human-dominated lands that treat half-orcs like herself poorly. Kostana hates Mortoth and will do anything to usurp his command of the host of humanoids that he commands for the Great Old One.
Kostana is a superb fighter and is strong and agile, but she is very clever, unlike the stereotype of most half-orcs. She wields two long swords and is a whirlwind of stell able to cut down numerous opponents in combat. She has survived numerous wounds that would have permanently put others out of commission because of her iron will and determination. Kostana is a shrewd and to the point type of person, but she can pull it back a bit if she needs to.
The host of humanoids commanded by Mototh encamped outside the city are far more loyal to Kostana than they are to Mortoth, but they all fear opposing the Great Old One's will to openly defy him.
Tips for Running Kostana: Against Mortoth's wishes, Kostana frequents Rookroost instead of staying in the horde's camp outside the city. She tries to make new contacts and build her network of spies inside the city. Adventurers could be recruited by her, but they will need to be cautious as she will slay them without a second thought to keep her secrets.
Mauldren Borrow: (Guild Master of the Apothecaries and Herbalists guild) Mauldren stands out in a city like Rookroost, not because he is a powerful druid, but because he is a genuinely nice and caring person. In a place full of cutthroats and evil people, he is out of place. Mauldren is also given a lot of respect because he is considered one of the most powerful people in the city.
While a caring and friendly person, he is more concerned with the world's balance and is a devoted follower of the old religion. The fact that he lives in a garden atop the Apothecaries and Herbalists guild is strange unto itself, but he sees cities as just another extension of nature through man. That being said, it’s a common belief that he'd burn the place to the ground if he thought he needed to.
Mauldren does care about people and helps those that he can, but he is very selective as to who he will help with his own magic. Bandits and brigands can purchase healing through the guild, but there is no free healing for them or other guild members, even the guild masters. If asked why he’s in the city, he simply ignores the question. If asked if he is part of a circle, he ignores the question as well. One of the most popular rumors about Mauldren is that he often travels to the Fellreev forest, where he is friends with the ancient green dragon there named Venthrimirax. Some stories say that he is even the dragon in disguise, but that is not true because Elara would know about it if it were true.
Physically Mauldren is a small and old man with flowing gray hair and beard and dresses in earth-colored robes. He walks with a staff that appears to be nothing more than a sizeable gnarled stick. Soft-spoken, he refuses to raise his voice to be heard, forcing those who wish to speak with him to listen and come in close.
Tips on Running Mauldren: Getting to speak with Mauldren is not easy, and unless an adventurer is a druid or priest of nature, the chances are even less. He does not seek out others but instead keeps his own counsel and is a mystery to nearly everyone in the city, even Elara.
Morley Clanless: (Guild Master of the Smit hand Armorers guild) The Clanless dwarf family is well known in Rookroost, and they have been doing business in the city for centuries in one form or another. Morley is the latest in a line of greedy yet skillful smiths that make fine weapons and armor. Morley’s personal forge is a masterpiece and responsible for most of the weapons used but those in the city that can afford them.
Morley is in his prime and is a stereotypical example of a dwarf with thick thews and a barrel chest. His fiery red beard is bushy and tucked into his belt, and his head always clean-shaven and covered in tattoos.
The Clanless family is not very large, but they habitually buy any dwarven slaves that come into the city. These slaves are put to work in Morley’s personal forge and allowed to work for their freedom. Those that gain their freedom tend to stay with the Clanless family as those that seem too uppity or think that they are too good to be a Clanless usually end up dead from an accident before they ever gain their freedom.
Tips for Running Morley: Getting to meet Morley is easy; all adventurers have to do is visit his forge. But he has no time for those with no coin to spend and will remember those who have wasted his time in the past and will refuse to see them again. Special items can be commissioned from Morley, but the cost is five times normal and takes twice as long to complete, but the end result is worth it. Armor and weapons crafted by Morley or his sons or apprentices are ready for enchanting and are twice as strong as other similarly crafted items. Morley cares little for the city's politics but is concerned about the place being destroyed by an invading army. If a battle that could destroy the city did occur, Morley would reluctantly open his stores to be used in the city's defense. Of course, he would expect them all back afterward if not paid for.
Neros: (Best swordsman in Rookroost) Rookroost has a long history of hard men and deadly men. Those who live and die by the sword choke the streets, and one's reputation means a lot. The title of the deadliest person in Rookroost is currently held by a rangy man named Neros. His easy-going nature hides a deadly disposition. Originally from the Heartlands, Neros made his way to Ravensrook early and put his natural swordsmanship abilities to good use. Never one to take things from the defenseless or the poor, Neros began a very profitable career of killing those that had already done the dirty work and taking it from them. This deadly work quickly made him a target of others, and when this lone swordsman was able to defeat all challengers, his reputation began to grow. Neros never started the fights but instead put himself in a position to rub the bandits and brigands of the city the wrong way, either by beating them at cards or leveling some choice words at the right bandit to get his ire up and force him to draw first.
As the bodies stacked up, so did his reputation to the point that no one in Rookroost would dare challenge him to a fair fight. Then came the waves of assassins and daggers in the night looking to score a quick blow and end him, but they too soon came to realize that Neros was no fool and far smarter than most gave him credit. After surviving no less than twelve assassination attempts, the word on the street was simple, don’t mess with Neros if you want to stay alive.
One of Neros’ most straightforward tactics was the sharing of his loot to win friends and allies. He would give away half his loot to street urchins, tavern, and shop keepers asking them to keep him informed of possible threats and other possible scores. By doing this, Neros has remained well informed and has been able to stay one step ahead of his adversaries.
Neros’ has always stayed clear of the guilds, never joining one, and never picking a fight with a high ranking member. When he did run afoul of a guild member, he would simply go to the guild master and ask for them to stop it or get permission to kill the guild member before doing anything. To emphasize his stance, Neros became skillful at defeating his enemies with non-lethal force as lethal. While being dead was no state that a person wanted to be in, being a cocky guild member that was beaten down and left alive was a severe blow to one’s reputation.
Today Neros simply makes a living off his reputation and his presence. He is often hired to attend parties and escort the highest-ranking individuals to important meetings as a personal bodyguard.
If there weren’t already enough reasons to not bother Neros, the fact that he is openly involved with the head of the Thieves guild makes the idea of bothering him even less appealing. How long the two have been dating is unknown, but they have been a couple for the past two years. The truth is that the two have been a couple for far longer, having met not long after Neros came to the city. Elara is also behind the potions and magics that have drastically extend his life span, which has not gone unnoticed by some of Neros' rivals.
Tips on Running Neros: Neros is exceptionally talented warrior and is considered to have no rivals within the city and possibly all of the Bandit Kingdoms. Neros thinks it’s a bunch of nonsense and often says there is always someone better or luckier. He is a fair man but merciless against those he deems his enemies. He is quick-witted and full of dry and morbid humor and one-liners.
The adventurers could run into Neros anywhere in the city because he has business in all the districts. fromHe can be found in Outwall watching the games to the Peak where he might be visiting Elara. He is not rude or boisterous when confronted, but he will not allow some two-bit punk to give him a hard time either. If the adventurers insult Neros, he will most likely attack them but will do non-lethal damage. Neros carries a vorpal sword and wears fine mithril armor, but his dress and style are not flashy or expensive. Neros can be hired, but his price is steep, very steep.
Pinder Peddlequick: (Guild Master of the Beggars Guild) Pinder was once little more than a halfling cutpurse living in Outwall, then he had an idea. Like most in Outwall, Pinder was not a guilded citizen and had little prospect of ever becoming guilded because he had no real skills besides stealing, and not a very good one, so the Congress wasn’t interested in him either. In all honesty, Pinder’s idea should have never succeeded, but Pinder is persuasive and lucky.
Pinder’s idea was simple, he’d start his own guild and reap the benefits of being guilded, like access to other parts of the city where the purses are fatter, and the people are not paranoid as they are in Outwall. Pinder’s plan was simple, and surprisingly, it worked. To everyone’s surprise, a large number of the poor in Outwall did what they had to do to scrape together enough coin to join the Beggar’s guild. If it had been anyone else, it indeed would not have worked, but in Outwall, Pinder was known as the rouge with a heart of gold. Eventually, Pinder had enough to apply for guild membership, and after he had submitted the request, he packed and waited to see if he had more work to do or would need to leave as soon as possible.
There are many theories about how and why the Beggar’s Guild was approved, but the real reason was the Council of Lords saw it as another source of revenue. Even if it was to go belly up after achieving guild status didn’t matter. Despite the odds and everyone’s expectations, the guild has survived now for nearly twenty years.
Pinder is now a middle-aged halfling that is not as spry as he used to be. While he no longer cuts purses or helps in any heists or other nefarious business, he still knows everything the guild is involved in. In recent years, he has become close friends with several Brae clan members, and the two groups share information and employ one another when they need assistance.
Tips on Running Pinder: Getting to meet Pinder is easy; all an adventurer need do is visit the Beggar's Guild. Pinder lives in a suite on the buildings top floor and is always busy about helping those that he can. His reputation of having a heart of gold is on display every day, and the halfling rarely has more than a few coppers to his name as he gives away his money to others a quickly as he gets it. Joining the Beggar's Guild is easy and a great place for making valuable contacts in Outwall.
In this 14th installment for the City of Rookroost we take a look at the second installment of People of Interest. Once again thanks to everyone that have given me inspiration from Nigel Findley, Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Frederick Weining, Casey Brown, and all the fabulous BK authors and lastly Gygax himself.
Arnol Marsh: (Leader of the Furyondian Rebels) Arnol is a middle-aged man still in his prime, and his posture and demeanor speak volumes even when he is not saying a word. Being a man of few words, when Arnol does speak, he is direct and to the point. Despite his imposing nature Arnol is of average size and height. His greying hair is thin, and his hard face has several small scars from a lifetime as a paladin of Trithereon. His armor and weapons are of good quality but not flashy or flamboyant, and he looks every bit the mercenary he claims to be.
Arnol has been leading the Furyondian rebels in Rookroost for three years. During that time, he has been able to hamper that city's ability to supply goods and resources to the Great Old One empire, but only minimally as he refuses to waste his men on plans that do not have a high chance of success. Arnol realizes that he can do far more good in the long run if he fights a battle of attrition. He waits for the day when the cold war turns hot once again.
Arnol dislikes what Rookroost stands for and hates his time here but knows it is for the greater good. Even though he hates Rookroost, he hates Iuz and his empire even more, and the knowledge that they continue to fight against him is what allows him to carry on.
In the city, Arnol is known as a mercenary, and he is a member of the Mercenaries and Sell-swords guild. While he and his cell make plots against the minions of Iuz they also work in the city, usually as guards arranged by the Mercenaries and Sell-swords Guild.
Arnol currently has a group of half a dozen men and women under his command. Despite his cell members' insistence, he refuses to recruit or use locals, seeing it as too much of a security risk.
Arnol does not lie, ever, but he will not be forced into divulging information either. He will simply refuse to answer a question or respond with information that means nothing to the question. Grumbling under his breath is a favorite answer when he can think of nothing better to say.
Tips on Running Arnol: It is possible that the characters have been sent to Rookroost to help Arnol, but only if the party is not full of loose cannons and can be trusted. Even if that is the case, Arnol will be reluctant to use them for significant assignments until they have won his trust, which comes slowly. Arnol is cautious and always keeps a stone of masking on his person to hide his paladinhood. Arnol will never reveal that hs is a Furondian agent unless a character has documentation of some sort that he can verify. If the characters are sent to work with Arnol, he would have already received word before they arrive in the city and will be watching for them, but he will never approach them.
Beanor Borralis: (Leader of the Shield Land Rebels) Beanor is the rebels' flamboyant and dangerous leader from the Shield Lands in Rookroost. Beanor is young, handsome, and quick-witted. Before the war, he was a squire but quickly proved his mettle and became a knight. Physically Beanor appears to be torn from a storybook of heroes with his athletic build, winning smile, and chiseled good looks, but he is rash and impatient. It is believed that these qualities are why he was given the assignment in Rookroost, so they could get rid of him and still possibly have him do some good.
Beanor is by far luckier than competent, and many feel that he must be blessed by Rudd herself. Beanor has been in many situations that seemed utterly hopeless and has prevailed with only scratches. He is lucky in battle and with everyday encounters, be it barely missing an enemy patrol, or stumbling onto a crate of flame pots when storming an enemy fortress guarded by trolls. Beanor himself believes that he is destined for greatness, what this greatness is he has no clue, but greatness none the less. The fact that he is not pious enough to be blessed with a paladin's abilities does not even phase the man as he simply states that he is gifted in other ways.
Since arriving in Rookroost, Beanor's luck has held out as his raids and sabotage are daring and often foolish, but he still remains uncaptured. He has eluded assassins and the best efforts of the Talons to find him and capture him. His reputation has grown to the point that Mortoth himself has noticed and wants him and has assigned a special unit of his Red Guards to the task. The few men he brought with him and those few who were already in place when he arrived have mostly died. Now he gathers there replacements from among the disenfranchised of Outwall. Everyone feels that it is only a matter of time before he legendary luck runs out and is killed, but so far, he has eluded them all for over a year.
Tips on Running Beanor: Beanor is dashing, gallant, and jolly at the worst of times. At the best of times, he might be considered insufferable because of his positive attitude. If approached, he will gladly accept the adventurers to his banner, and to prove their loyalty, he will have them conduct a raid of some sort, a raid that he will gladly join. Beanor rarely thinks things through, but when flaws in his plans are pointed out, he's willing to change it even on the fly if he thinks its better. Beanor truly does think he's untouchable, and characters should witness this firsthand, but whether it's true or not remains to be seen. Beanor's superiors in the Shield Lands are as stunned by the man's inability to die as everyone else is. They have recently been sending some more assistance his way as they can not deny that he is producing results. Beanor does not like to sit idle and is constantly hatching one scheme to hamper the troops and attempt to disrupt the tribute shipped out of the city to Iuz, a feat he has yet to accomplish.
Beltran (Owner the Black Swan): A place like the Black Swan has existed in one form or another since before Rookroost was a city. The owners of those past taverns and alehouses were mean and tough, but none have been as mean and tough as Beltran. Before taking over the Black Swan Inn, Beltran had a fierce reputation as one of the most notorious marauders to raid into the neighboring kingdoms. His reputation became so great that the bounties on him were so high that even his fellow bandits were eyeing him for the reward. Knowing he had to lay low for a while to let things cool off, he set down roots in Rookroost and took over the Black Swan Inn after killing the original owner.
Beltran is a big, burly, and mean half-orc with plenty of scars and a short temper. Fortunately, he doesn't run the inn but is just a go-between for those looking to outfit marauding bands and those looking for jobs.
Since Beltran has owned the Black Swan, he has had plenty of fun, but he's been getting the itch to go raiding once again, but he doesn't trust anyone to watch his tavern while he's gone. He can't leave Gevin behind because he's his right-hand man, and too stupid to do it.
Tips on Running Beltran: Beltran is a brute and used to getting what he wants through intimidation and violence. Despite his tendency towards violence, Beltran is not stupid, and he knows when to try and keep his bravado and temper in check, but he struggles with it.
Berda Brae: (Brae Clan Elder) Since the Brae Clan set up shop in Rookroost, there have been three different heads of the family. Commonly referred to as either a matriarch or patriarch. The clan is divided into smaller groups called families, and these families have their own power structure and each led by a family elder. The collection of all the elders is simply called the heads of the family, and amongst them, they elect one overall elder that leads the whole clan. The current Brae Family elder is Berda Brae.
And older halfling, Berda was never one for padding across rooftops or second-story work. She was only a passable cutpurse, and her lock picking skills were adequate at best. However, where she did excel was in the planning, and it was because of this, she was able to make her way to the top elder position in the Brae clan.
Soft-spoken and polite, many people have mistakenly thought that they could intimidate her. A mistake that few live to regret. Berda is ruthless, cunning, and highly intelligent. She has worked hard to maintain the clan's independence from the Congress while at the same time making them invaluable to Elara. The clan means everything to her, and if necessary to ensure it's survival, she will say and do anything.
Tips on Running Berda: It's unlikely that a party of adventurers will ever meet Berda, unless one of them is a halfling and high level. While the Brae's try to keep track of any halfling coming into the city, if any with a reputation comes to Rookroost, they are often invited to meet Berda. This meeting is for Berda to feel out the character and see why they are in the city and see if they might work together in the future. She is rarely alone and usually is accompanied by three to four bodyguards.
Cedric Valest: (Mercenaries and Sell-Swords Guild Master) Cedric is a man of many talents and has served in several other organizations and guilds in Rookroost. He was a Talon for a short period of time, served in the now-defunct Rookroost army, and has been a guard and on the payroll for the Merchant's League and the Lord of Brick. Eventually, he settled in as a member of the Mercenaries and Sell-Swords guild and soon found himself rising up the ranks quickly until he became head of the guild. Cedric is not the best swordsman, but he is smart and knows when opportunity knocks and how to take advantage of situations, a skill that has served him and his guild well.
Cedric is a middle-aged man with thinning hair and a pudgy midsection. He has not taken an active contract himself in several years, and rumors are running wild within the guild that those interested in taking his place are jockeying for the position. It is also a well-known fact that Cedric has little faith in most of the guild's high ranking members to be able to run it competently. There are even rumors that Cedric is looking at possibilities outside of the guild for a successor.
Tips on Running Cedric: Cedric is always looking for recruits to bring into the fold of his guild, but now that he is looking to retire, he is taking closer looks at the adventurers that pass through Rookroost. Cedric is no fool, and even has the ear of Mortoth and will not think twice about reporting anyone that he feels is a threat to the tumultuous peace in the city. Cedric often will solicit those he sees on the street that he thinks could be an excellent addition to the guild, but he also believes that everyone needs to work their way up the ladder as he did. The Mercenaries and Sell-swords guild is a great way for characters to get work in the city, leading to adventure hooks for later. Members of the guild are offered contracts on how well they perform their duties, but if the characters are busy with other endeavors, they can turn down the contracts. But turning down too many contracts will lead to less work being offered.
Chief Rugga: (Kobold Tribe Chief) The current chief of the Red Scale tribe, the kobolds who have been in charge of the Rookroost sewers, hasn't been chief for long. Rugga is large for a kobold, which isn't saying much, but it was enough for him to bully his way into becoming chief. Never one for hard work, he leaves the running of the sewers to his subordinates and only makes an appearance when dealing with the topsiders is called for.
The kobolds take great pride in their work and have kept the undercity and sewers in check and clean. They report anything out of the ordinary immediately to the Lord of Brick's office. The odd monster and infestation of the undercity are usually handled by hired adventurers. Still, their constant competition with the ratlings has traditionally been their responsibility. Nevertheless, under Rugga's control, the kobolds have lost ground to them, and he has had to go to the Lord of Bricks requesting help several times now since he has been in control. Usually, the monsters that turn up in the undercity are found in the main passages or sewer tunnels, which are accessible for adventurers to get at. However, the ratlings use smaller tunnels, limiting those who can fight properly in them other than halflings and gnomes.
Tips on Running Rugga: Rugga will only be encountered in and around the sewers or the sewer works in the Inner-City. If adventurers do meet Rugga he will try to hire them into helping with his ratling problem. He will make promises of letting them keep whatever they find, but if this isn't enough, he will offer a bounty of 2gp per ratling tail that is brought to him.
Bertrum Glitterstone: ( Owner of the Crystal Palace Inn and Tavern) The first impression most have when meeting the strikingly handsome and lavishly dressed Bertrum is that he is out of place in Rookroost. Rumors abound that Bertrum is actually royalty from the Flinty Hills that fled to Rookroost to escape a murder to treason charge. If there is any truth to these rumors, Bertrum won't say. The truth is that he took over an old guildhall in the Peak and turned it into the most decadent place in the city some five years ago after appearing from out of nowhere with a lot of coin to spend establishing his new life in Rookroost.
Bertrum is approaching middle-age for a gnome, but has not lost a step and is often said to be blessed with the grace of an elf. He is always elegantly dressed and never travels outside of the Peak if it can be avoided. The truth of Bertrum's past is that he was a member of a thieves guild somewhere outside the lands of the Bandit Kingdoms, and his fortune was made at the expense of others and he has powerful enemies abroad. To counter this, Bertrum has made it a point to become an associate and friend of Elara Mornstar. The two are spotted often at the Crystal Palace dining or having drinks and chatting.
Tips on Running Bertrum: Bertrum welcomes all new customers warmly, provided they fit the requirements to stay or eat at the Crystal Palace. He does not allow roughhousing, overly loud, or boisterous conversations, and customers must be adequately dressed. Wearing armor is frowned upon, but can be overlooked depending on the guest. Bertrum hires only the best guards that don't mind wearing the house uniform while on duty, but there is rarely an opening as it is a highly sought after job. Adventurers might know about Bertrum's past, which would mean that they know where he is from and his real name. Those who would attempt to use this information to blackmail him would soon find the Congress looking for them.
Graxton Battlemaster: (Head Battlemaster of the temple of Hextor) The war god Hextor is worshiped by warriors, especially warriors that lust for the thrill of combat and overcoming their foes, Rookroost, and the lands of the Free Lords, has more than their fair share. Second, only to the priests of Hextor are the battlemasters. Battlemasters are teachers of tactics and martial skills, and the Battlemaster of the temple of Hextor in Rookroost is Graxton.
Graxton lives for the fight, and when he is not training warriors at the temple, he can be found in the field, fighting in any skirmish, battle, or combat that he can find. Graxton, much like the church, does not choose just one side; they choose the side where they can most likely see combat. The destruction of the main temple of Hextor in the heartlands and the complete disregard for the edicts of combat has left a bitter taste in Graxton's mouth. The forces of Iuz have become his enemies, and he has sworn to see them pushed back to their own lands. Graxton was dismayed when Rookroost signed the peace treaty with Iuz and would have left if the head priest at the temple in Rookroost had not ordered him to stay. Despite his hatred for Iuz, Graxton has a begrudging respect for Mortoth and his Red Guard.
Graxton is a large man and tall with a long reach. He carries a wide array of weapons and wears highly stylized full plate armor. He is trained in the use of bows, and they serve a purpose, but he prefers to be up close and will take the opportunity to close ranks whenever he can to fight in melee. While he has a passion for the fight, he is not stupid and knows tactics and mastery of them. He will not rush a group if it will leave his flank exposed but will attempt to lure his enemies closer. Graxton has a very dry personality and only seems to have a passion for war and combat.
Tips on Running Graxton: Graxton's no-nonsense attitude does not make him a likely source for interaction as he does not frequent taverns or spends time wandering the streets, enjoying other forms of leisure. If a character wishes to train, they can do so at the temple for a fee, but he is not available for hire and does not partake in subterfuge acts. If some of the characters are worshipers of Hextor they could run into him at the temple where he would be training, reading about war, or inspecting and improving the temple's defenses.
Gunseli, or The Spider: (Chief Assassin) Those of the assassin’s guild take painful steps to make sure that their identities are not well known. Popularity works contrary to an assassin’s goal of moving about the city unknown and unobserved. The Assassin’s Guild's chief assassin has two names, neither of which are connected to a dependable description of what she looks like. There have been sightings of Gunseli, on those rare occasions where the assassin meets with his employers, but all those reports are contrary to one another and lead many to believe that these are simply stand-ins playing the part of the real assassin. No one knows if Gunseli is human, elf, dwarf, or some other race, male or female. Many theorize that Gunseli is a Drow because of her love of using spider poison, and thusly she must be a female Drow. This, too, is just conjecture surrounding the mystery of Gunsseli. The guild officials are just as in the dark as everyone else as they work with the assassin through intermediaries. Gunseli, poisons food and drink, will use contact poison on doors and items that the assassin knows that her victim will pick up and use, and her weapons are all poisoned weapons.
On the streets, Gunseli is more commonly known as the Spider since the assassins preferred method is through spider poison. Poison is a prevalent method of disposing of adversaries in Rookroost. Because of this, many countermeasures have been devised to combat it, but Gunseli does not use common poisons but only rarest and hardest to find poisons. Many of these have been studied by Wizards from the School of Wizardry and have been determined to originate from the Underdark. Many have tried to find the assassin by tracking the import of such rare ingredients, but none of the rare ingredients have been found entering the city.
Tips on Running Gunseli: Gunseli is like the boogie-man of Rookroost. Despite many efforts by a good many competent people, the assassin still remains an enigma, which has turned Gunseli into a favorite for conspiracy theorists. The assassin’s fees are double the going rate and she has yet to leave a contract unfulfilled. Gunseli is also no fool and has turned down contracts to kill the council Lords and the General in the past. This handful of people seem to be the only ones safe from her, and only so long as they are in office as she has killed several former council Lords. It should also be impressed upon adventures that angering the Rookroost elite could cause Gunseli to be hired to take care of them.
In this 13th installment for the City of Rookroost we take a look at the third installment of places of interest with Outwall, and the beginning of People of Interest. Once again thanks to everyone that have given me inspiration from Nigel Findley, Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Frederick Weining, Casey Brown, and all the fabulous BK authors and lastly Gygax himself.
31) The City Bazaar: While the Outwall district of Rookroost is the most chaotic and dangerous part of the city, the city bizarre is the exception. During the day, the bazaar is crawling with Talons, and the Congress has made it well known that they will accept no interference with the legendary Rookroost bazaar.
The bazaar predates the city itself and is where the ill-gotten goods pilfered by bandits and brigands eventually end up after being sold to local merchants. As the bazaar grew, it drew the interest of morally flexible merchants willing to travel to Rookroost and partake in the great deals the bazaar offered. You can't find everything for sale there all the time, but what you do find will be at the best prices.
In the beginning, wares were sold by the same bandits and brigands that stole them, but men of action are ill-suited to such work, which lead to the rise of the merchant class to take on that trade. These merchants bought their goods, then stockpiled them to haul to foreign markets. Today The Merchants League has a stranglehold on the local merchants. It is fully supported by the city, and the other guilds, as the bazaar is the lifeblood of Rookroost's economy.
Many were unsure how the new overlords would treat the bazaar, and during and after the war, the foreign merchants had stopped coming. Still, only a few years afterward, it was evident that the minions of Iuz, or at least Mortoth, had no intention of interfering with it. With regular tribute needing to be sent back north to feed the horde and the evil empire that belongs to the Great Old One, great pains have been taken by Mortoth to ensure that the bazaar continues to thrive.
The grounds upon which the bazaar is held is a great expanse of open ground that erupts into a tent city at the break of dawn as merchants and the guilds open up for business. Then, as quickly as it is erected every morning, the entire thing is pulled down an hour before nightfall, and the merchants and guild members hurry back home before darkness falls.
32) The Slave Pens: Slavery is legal in Rookroost, like most of the Free Lords' lands. One of the most lucrative trades in the city is the slave trade, especially since the war has driven up demand. The Slave Pens is where slavers bring their wares in the morning to show them off to potential buyers. Each morning slaves are marched out of their stockades and holding cells into the slave pens to wait their turn on the auction block. During the day, the slave pens are packed with people, and at night, the area is devoid of life as unsold slaves are taken back to the Slavemasters homes.
A detachment of Talons is stationed here during the day, but not to protect citizens from the slaves but to ensure the rowdier of the slavers don't disrupt the slave market. Slavers are notorious for shaking down rivals, and some even make a practice of waylaying slave trains and seizing their stock before it reaches Rookroost.
33) The Fish Mongers: While Rookroost doesn't have much in the way of local produce, the fishmongers bring in wagon loads of fish from the nearby Artonsamy River daily. The fishmongers have a regular spot just outside of the bazaar where they sell their fish, but it is rarely fresh unless it is winter or autumn. During warmer months, the fish that is brought up is already salted and or dried. Sometimes, it is still alive and in barrels.
34) The Black Swan Inn: The most notorious inn and tavern in the city, the Black Swan is the place to go when you're looking to either join or recruit a marauding band going raiding into the neighboring kingdoms. Even before the refugees and the war, the Black Swan was a place to find the roughest and meanest bandits and brigands in the city. The Black Swan is owned by a former marauding half-orc named Beltran and his partner, a half-ogre named Gevin. They employ a squad of roughnecks to make sure the place doesn't get broken up in addition to the regular staff.
35) Seltin’s Livery Stables: Seltin's stables are located on the outskirts of Outwall and are the one-stop-shop for all your horse and tack needs. They sell all kinds of horses and repurchase them at a discounted price if they are still serviceable. They sell wagons, and all your caravan needs as well. In addition to horses and wagons, Seltrins also has the finest guides and scouts in all the Bandit Kingdoms available for hire. These guides and scouts can lead your caravan or your marauding party as well. Seltin is also one of the most informed men, outside of the messenger's service, as has his guides and scouts regularly bring back news to him. Seltin knows so much that he periodically supplies information to the Congress for a small fee and added protection.
36) Last Chance Tavern and Inn: On the main road, called the Western Road, out of Rookroost heading into the heartlands is the Last Chance Tavern and Inn. Run by a personable ex adventurer named Chance Lucas, his place is considered the last chance to turn around before heading into Outwall. Many merchants stay here while conducting their business at the bazaar, so they don't have to stay in the city. In addition to merchants, many adventurers making their way to Rookroost stop at the Last Chance. Chance is known for being on good terms with nearly everyone in Rookroost and is a personal friend of Elara Mornstar. Chance's connections are usually enough to keep the riff-raff out of his place, that and the guards he has on the payroll.
37) The Dregs: Outwall has always been where the poorest of Rookroost's citizens end up. Even here, the division between the haves and the have nots is apparent. The lowest of these citizens live in the Dregs. This shantytown has no real borders as its growth and population is in constant flux. Fire, disease, and just the hard living in the Dregs keeps it that way. Talons never patrol here, and the only authority recognized there are the gangs. Divided up amongst ever changing numbers of gangs. The gangs of the Dregs are the least influential in Outwall and Rookroost.
38) Fountain Number One: Besides bars, taverns, and drug dens, Outwall has little in the way of clean water except for Fountain Number one. All the fountains in the city have a number designation to them, and the only one in Outwall being the largest. The fountain is more than just a place to gather water; it's also a place to relax catch up with neighbors.
Because of the importance of Fountain Number One to Outwall, it is the only place in the district that has round the clock talons stationed there. The Talons' job is to ensure that no one attempts to foul the water or uses it as their personal bathroom. Being stationed at the fountain is considered a punishment assignment or reserved for those new to the Talons.
39) The Beggars Union: When it comes to large institutions in Outwall, there is only one, the Beggars Union. The guildhall that houses the union is often described as a perfect reflection of the guild itself, large and run-down. The building is brimming with people at all hours of the night and day, with members taking advantage of the services they provide. Violence between members on guildhall grounds is not tolerated, and those guilty of breaking that rule are thrown out of the guild.
40) The Slab (Prison): The prison known only as the Slab is an imposing building on Outwall's outskirts. Brooding and unadorned by statues or embellishments, the prison's exterior reflects the prisoners' hopelessness within. Besides the main keep, there are four large stone barracks and a dungeon below for prisoners not assigned to forced labor.
Columns of Shackled chain-gangs are lead out of the Slab to work surrounding fields or loaded into wagons and taken to locations throughout the city to work. These gangs are heavily guarded by the Talons.
41) Cemetery and the House of the Dead: Just north of the Outwall district lies the Rookroost cemetery and the House of the Dead. The cemetery has been in this location nearly as long as Rookroost has been a city. The House of the Dead started out as nothing more than a shack where death priests lived and has grown into a cathedral dedicated to death in all its forms. Most people from Ravensrook never visit the cemetery, and the rumors about the place are many.
42) The Pits: Outwall might be the slums, but it is also home to the city’s most popular entertainment, the gladiator fights. It is said that the pits originally were a way for the gangs of bandits and brigands to settle their disputes. As the city evolved, so did the gladiator pits, growing from simple pits dug into the ground into a stone arena with seating for thousands. Beneath the arena is a maze of living quarters for gladiators and holding pens for monsters to be used in the arena.
Besides gladiatorial bouts, the arena also holds fights between monsters, or monsters, and slaves. These slaves are usually poor slaves of less value, and then there are still the traditional Trails as they are called. Trials is where two sides can enter the arena to settle a disagreement with a trial by combat, just like the cities founders used to do. These can be to the death or first blood and can be fought between the two disgruntled opponents or professional stand-ins. While not an officially sanctioned form of justice through the magistrates, most in the city honor these matches' results and look down on those that don't honor them.
Below you will find a list of some of the important people in the city. This is far from a complete list, but instead a list of NPC's intended to give you an idea of the types of people that can be found in the city and inspire you to create your own memorable ones.
Elara Mornstar: (Leader of the Congress) Elara appears as an elf, but her features are not distinct enough to pin down what kind of elf. If ever asked this question, she responds with a wry smile and a comment about a girl not giving away all her secrets. Tall for an elf at 5'8” in height, Elara has raven hair, green eyes, and a dancers build. Many speculate that she is really a half-elf with dominant elven features. Of course, the truth is that Elara is actually a Greyhawk Dragon that has assumed this form to interact with the lesser races. Elara dresses for the occasion and is never seen wearing the same thing twice as she enjoys new clothes and being fashionable.
Elara has been a fixture in Rookroost for over 100 years now, and the Congress leader for 70 of those years. Before she assumed Elara's persona, she had lived in the city as a human warrior named Belara. She used this persona to get accustomed to her new home and then laid it to rest and took up Elara's identity. Of the inhabitants of Rookroost only Riziln, and Neros, her sometime lover, know of her true identity, but even they do not know her true name.
Elara stands out with her lighthearted demeanor and personality in a city full of bravado and hard men. She's always smiling and polite to all those that she meets. She has ordered assassinations and war upon other guilds, all the while smiling as if it was nothing. Elara enjoys her position as the most powerful person in the city, and all the excitement it gives her. Like all Greyhawk Dragons, she lives for the small moments and the interactions between these lesser beings.
Elara is protective of her city and her people and has genuine affection for them, much like one has for a beloved pet. She is very concerned about the current state of affairs since the war, and she is working hard to form a lasting bond between herself and Mortoth. She trusts Mortoth to act in his own self-interest, but she is happy that he is far more intelligent than most minions of the Great Old One. Elara knows that if he could, Mortoth would have her replaced with one of his own, but they both know that will never happen, so they work hard to form a working relationship that helps them both.
Elara is a mature dragon and an accomplished swords-women and caster in her elven form. She never wears armor; instead, she relies on her abilities and the fact that she is far stronger, faster, and tougher than nearly all that she encounters even in her elven form.
If Elara is said to have a weakness, it's her affection for Neros. Even though she does not know what it is about this human male that fascinates her, she spends what free time she can in his company. Their relationship is a well-known fact in the city, and some foolish individuals have tried to use Neros to get to Elara in the past, only to wind up dead by the swordsman's own hand.
Tips on Running Elara: In reality, adventurers might be able to catch glimpses of Elara from time to time at a distance, but until they are substantially high enough level to have a reputation that warrants her attention, they wouldn't have any contact with her. As adventurers gain levels and reputation, or if they are already of a high enough level, usually tenth level and above, she will request an audience with them when they arrive in the city. The reason for this is so that Elara can size them up and get her own opinion of them. If she likes what she sees, she will more than likely try to employ them, and if they are amiable to the idea, maybe even try to recruit them into the Congress.
Of course, if the characters are already members of the guild, Elara will start paying attention to the characters by the time they become 5th level. She may directly interact with them at that time as she believes in being a hands-on leader.
In this 12th installment for the City of Rookroost we take a look at the second installment of places of interest in the Inner-City and the Outer-City. Once again thanks to everyone that have given me inspiration from Nigel Findley, Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Frederick Weining, Casey Brown, and all the fabulous BK authors and lastly Gygax himself.
11) The Merchant's League Guildhall: By far, the biggest guildhall in the city is the massive complex of the Merchant's League. It not only functions as a typical guildhall but also as an inn and tavern for traveling merchants. A vast stagging area for merchants preparing caravans for departure dominates its inner compound ringed by warehouses for arriving caravans to store goods. The entire complex takes up more than four city blocks, is walled with towers, and dotted with guard stations.
The Merchant's League employs a small army of workers that stay in dormitories on the grounds itself or live in nearby tenements. In addition to the dormitories, there are barracks located on the site for the nearly one hundred men at arms hired from the mercenaries and free-swords guild that guard the entire compound.
In addition to the living quarters, there are stables for horses and pack animals. A blacksmith, cartwright, and several other craftsmen needed to help keep the caravans operational. Behind the stables are the kennels housing more than three dozen Rookroost Hounds that are also bred onsite.
12) The Rookroost Courts: The courts of Rookroost are a series of drab buildings always in need of repair, adding to the somber atmosphere around them. Open only three days a week, the courthouse is shuttered and locked the rest of the time with a handful of guards on duty to dissuade theft. A small dungeon can be found under the main courthouse, where those found guilty and in need of being transported to other facilities await their departure date. These dungeons are guarded around the clock as it can take up to several weeks for those convicted to labor to be taken away. The courtrooms themselves are small, stuffy, and have several benches for witnesses and the judge's seat, placed upon a dais. Those presenting cases to the court are expected to stand.
13) Temple of Istus: While the city is home to several temples, only two of them have grand buildings of consequence, the temple of Istus and the Temple to Hextor. The temple of Istus houses more than two dozen priests, with only a fraction of them able to cast any kind of divine magic. The building is large and cathedral-like, but with simple architecture and designs. The main chapel is divided into several private rooms for sacrifices, which is the temple's primary stock in trade. Those wishing to gain the goddess's blessing come to the temple to donate to her church and make sacrifices on consecrated grounds. All forms of sacrifices are permitted to the goddess, even human sacrifices, but those are conducted in private chambers.
14) Temple of Hextor: Hextor, the god of war and plunder, is by far the most popular god worshiped in the city, and the temple to the Red God as he is often called, is proof of that. The temple itself doubles as a fortress, but the doors and compound are open day and night for visitors. In addition to two dozen priests, there is a small army of zealots that act as the church's acolytes and double as the temples own personal guard.
The clang of steel and the grunts of fighting can often be heard from the temple as followers in good faith can come to the temple to train with the Battlemasters, the highest-ranking non-priest position in the religion. These battle masters practice martial arts and study tactics and conduct mock war games outside of the city and inside the temple using miniatures and sand tables and complicated rules to simulate units' movement and abilities. The chief Battlemaster is called Graxton and is an imposing half-orc.
15) The Bank (Pawnbrokers and Money Changers Guildhall): Called the Bank because it is built like a vault and contains the third-largest concentration of wealth after the City Vault and the Jeweler's guild house located in the Peak, it is also the only one open to the public. While the bulk of Pawnbrokers transactions are conducted at satellite locations throughout the city, exceptionally large transactions occur at the Bank itself.
The Bank is staffed round the clock even though it is only open for business during the day. A compliment of fifty guards hired from the Mercenaries and Sellswords guild are on duty at all times. The vault is rumored to also be guarded by several gold golems.
16) City Sewer Works: Located in a tucked-away corner of the district is the maintenance entry into the sewers and the control station. All of the mechanical valves and levers controlling the diversion of the cities runoff and waste. The Inner-City and the Peak are the only parts of the city fully serviced by the sewers and a small portion of the Outer-City. A kobold clan operates the sewers and can be found here, but they rarely are allowed to roam about the district and then only to repair the sewers many exits and entrances for runoff.
17) Greymist's Arms and Armor: Greymist's Arms and Armor shop is by far the most famous weapons dealer in the city and is well known for dealing with the most exotic and even magical weapons. The shop is unaffiliated with any guild in the city and functions off a private writ it has arranged directly with the city. All of the city's elite shop at Greymist's, and Greymist, the owner from which the shop gets its name, is said to have a network of adventurers that bring him his stock. While past his prime, Greymist and his employees are all masterful warriors, and only the most foolhardy of thieves would attempt to steal from his shop.
18) Barbers and Dentists Guildhall: This large and simple guildhall also doubles as the cities only official hospital. Staffed with a guards' detachment, the guildhall is stocked with healing potions, herbs, and other medicines. While smaller shops can be found throughout the city, the guildhall is where all the severely wounded and ill people are taken. There are some alchemists, druids, and priests of various deities that are part of the guild. While the building is locked up during the night, those in need can come to the front gates and gain entry if the guards allow them to pass. They will often simply tell those who bring wounded or sick people to the entrance to leave them there with a payment, and the guards will then open the gates and gather the individual after they believe the coast is clear.
19) Messengers Guildhall: The Messengers guildhall is a small building that is merely a collection point where those who need to have a message delivered will come, meet with a representative, and leave their message and payment. How the message gets from there and into the hands of an actual messenger is unknown, but no messengers are seen leaving the building.
20) Mercenary and Free-Swords Guildhall: Despite its name, the Mercenaries and Free-Swords guildhall is not a large fortress, keep, or tower as some would suspect; instead, the guildhall is a three-story building that looks more like a tavern or inn. Used as a meeting place for members to mingle with prospective employers and fellow members. The place is called the Hall by locals and is usually packed with guild members.
21) The Nest (City Keep): The main base for the city's watch is officially called the City Keep, but unofficially called the Nest. It is a small keep outfitted with a dungeon and swarming with Talons at all times. Connected to the Nest is a stable, blacksmith, and a barracks to house up to 300 of the Talons. The Nest used to keep provisions on hand in case they would need to close the gates in the event of a siege or major riot, but the stores haven't been refilled in recent history.
22) Benedict's Trading Company: Benedict's trading company serves two distinct purposes, the first being it's the largest general store in the city. They carry everything that can be found in the player's handbook, and if they don't have it in stock, then no one has it in the city. The second is being a front for the Congress, the city's dominant Thieves Guild. By outfitting bands of bandits and brigands, they can find out where and when they are planning on marauding, and they can even foretell the plans of some of the other guilds by what they are stockpiling.
23) Raven's Square: The city's main square and gathering place is the Raven's Square. The square is decorated with statues and a graffiti-covered fountain but is still an impressive place. Permanent scaffolding is erected at the center of the square, where those condemned to death are hanged. Around the perimeter are large posts over fifteen feet tall with cages dangling from hooks where those not fortunate enough for a quick death die slowly from starvation and exposure to the elements. The square is where all major announcements are made, and all city-sanctioned festivals are held.
24) The Black House: This unassuming two-story house blends perfectly on the street where it is found, but it doesn't get its name from the color of the stone its made from but instead from the deeds bought inside. The black house is the home of Rookroost's assassins guild. No assassin can be found at the house, at least according to those inside, and all those people appear to be unassuming clerks. If a commission is desired, a customer leaves a description of who they want to be eliminated and how with a representative. The information is then passed onto the associates as the assassins are called. Once the associate reviews the commission, a message is delivered to the customer, letting them know if the commission was accepted, the commission's final cost, and where payment can be delivered is then determined. Once the final payment has been delivered, no further contact is made between the associates, the guild, and the customer.
25) The Kitchen (Bakers, Butchers, and Cooks Guild): Despite the nickname given to the guild house of the Bakers, Butchers, and Cooks guild, there is no kitchen on the premises. In fact, the entire guildhall is nothing more than an office keeping track of paperwork and members. A common joke is that someone stops and asks a stranger where they can find the Kitchen, and they are standing in front of it.
26) Smiths and Armorer's Guildhall: The house that Ollie built as it is called is more a factory than a traditional guildhall as it is also the personal forge of Morley Clanless, head of the Smith and Armorer's Guild. The guildhall's entire bottom floor is home to four active forges with all of the guilds offices located on the second floor of the facility. In addition to the two floors above ground, it is known that there are several sub-levels to the guild house, mostly used for storage of their creations and a vault for extremely prized creations.
27) Leatherworkers and Masons Guildhall: Another guildhall that has no manufacturing on-site, especially the foul-smelling tanneries of the Leatherworkers. The guildhall is strictly an administrative office that helps coordinate work and sets up jobs for its members. The guildhall is easily identified by the leather-covered and studded door and its temple-like columned building.
28) The Apothecaries and Herbalists Guildhall: One of the most unique and readily identifiable guildhalls in all the city is the Apothecaries and Herbalists Guilds. The building is made of white marble and has the look of a sanitarium, except for the garden that dominates its entire roof and the vines and creepers growing down the building's side. Even more impressive that the garden is that a huge tree over one hundred feet tall grows in the middle of that garden and towers over ever other structure around it.
The garden is not just for show but is full of rare herbs and plants used in poultices, salves, and potions. Like most everything else in the city, the guildhall is only open for business during the daytime, even though it has people working there around the clock.
29) The Green Egg Inn: The Green Egg has the reputation of being a fine Inn accepting everyone who can behave themselves but is widely considered the best restaurant in the city. The place is packed from sun-up to sun-down during the day, and it, like most common houses, remains open for business after hours, but the front door is heavily guarded.
The Green Egg’s main claim to fame is its menu, which has the widest variety of things that one can order in the Free Lords' lands, and probably the Flanaess. Rookroost imports nearly all its foodstuffs, and because of this, stocks are never reliable or the same day to day. Because of this, cooks at the Egg have been experimenting with new dishes for thirty years, which is how long the Crabden family, a wily family of gnomes, has owned it.
30) Wila’s Apothecary and Specialty Shop: Characters can find many strange things in Rookroost to buy, but the weirdest shop in the whole city is Wila’s. The three-story wooden house looks more like an aged haunted house with its weathered iron fence and gate. The sagging house is rumored to be animated and said to defend Wila if the need arises. Those who shop in the place can hear low breathing and feel a slight change in the wind as if a giant monster is just in the next room and breathing in and out. Doors open and close on their own accord, or even simply vanish and appear on other walls. Windowsills, railings, and molding detach and move about on its own, and holes can appear on the floor, allowing items to rise from lower floors. The wood is not flammable, although it can be hacked apart.
There have been instances where some customers have entered the house and have never been seen again. There have been rumors in the past of destroying the house and Wila, and If her wares weren’t so strange and wonderful, they might seriously consider it. The number of stories of customers finding rare and amazing magic inside her house for sale far outnumbers the stories of people disappearing.
Willa is a very unassuming woman, with long dark hair that favors dark clothes, but not just black. She is a soft-spoken, polite, and petite. She is also known to be a spell caster, but what kind or how potent her magic is no one knows. Where she gets all of her wonderous items is also unknown as the only people seen coming and going from her place are customers.
In this 11th installment for the City of Rookroost we take a look at the festivals celebrated in the city as well as the first installment of places of interest. Once again thanks to everyone that have given me inspiration from Nigel Findley, Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Frederick Weining, Casey Brown, and all the fabulous BK authors and lastly Gygax himself.
Festivals and Holidays
Rookroost is home to many gods, and while they each have holidays and days of celebration, only two holidays are observed in the city, Darkest Night and Unity Day.
Celebrated on the 11th of Goodmonth, at night, the Darkest Night was one of the city's scariest times. As the name implies, the festival is held on the longest and darkest night of the year. The Darkest Night was traditionally an evening for settling scores and taking out rivals. It had once been so bad that the Talons themselves were afraid to patrol the city on that night. Setting fire to homes and businesses of competitors became common on the Darkest Night, leading to several district-wide fires in the past. Seeing this as a problem, the Council of Lords began organizing public bonfire gatherings to hand out free beer to help stem the violence. The Talons came out in full force during the celebrations to help enforce a more orderly chaos. Eventually, the night turned into an all-night celebration, with most of the population either too intoxicated or busy with merriment to cause trouble.
There is still a fair amount of violence and chaos on Darkest Night, but its more easily managed now. The local traditions of scanning the stars for portents and getting one's fortunes told are big business for local fortunetellers.
Celestian, the god of the stars and night sky, Telchur, the god of winter, Nox, the dusk goddess, and Tharizdun, the void creeper, all consider the night a holy time, and followers of these gods conduct rituals on the Darkest Night in public or secret depending on the rights. While followers of these gods are worshiped on this night, their celebrations are not sanctioned by
The second observed holiday in Rookroost is nothing more than an organized celebration of the cities victory over Tenhite forces early in the city’s history. Started by a long-Forgotten governor, who wanted a reason to celebrate city pride like other cities, he picked the date when all of Rookroost's past achievements can be celebrated. Today it is nothing more than an excuse for the populace to get drunk and the rich and influential people of the city to hold parties.
Rookroost after Dark
Since the inception of Rookroost, the city has had two separate and distinct personalities, the Rookroost that everyone saw and moved about during the day, and the much more dangerous Rookroost after dark. Rookroost during the day can be a dangerous place, especially in Outwall, but after the sun sets, the underbelly shows itself and drives most inside behind locked doors. Even in the Outer-City district, it is not uncommon for fights between the rough and tumble brigands and bandits, but after dark, even the Inner-City becomes lawless. Taverns and Inns tend to do a thriving business during the night as many patrons spend the entire night there for the safety in numbers provides. Travel in Outwall, the Outer-City, and the Inner-City is done only in groups of four or more to avoid the dangers that roam the streets.
Only the Peak seems to be immune to this up-tick in violence after dark, undoubtedly because it’s the best lit and most guarded place in the city. The Inner-City and Outer-City have some lights around the more important buildings and the main streets but are predominately dark. The only lighting in Outwall is provided by the citizens, and the Talons at the city gate.
The reason Rookroost is so deadly after dark is simple, it is full of bandits, cutthroats, and brigands. Since its earliest days, the settling of scores, robbing, and stealing goods has waited until night. As the city grew and became more civilized, the number of people willing to do dastardly deeds did not shrink; it grew. Attempts have been made to curb the spike in crime and violence after dark, but the cost and the commitment was not something the Council of Lords was willing to undertake. Easier to keep the Peak well-guarded and make sure that you have good locks on your doors and windows.
The chaos after night in Rookroost has become an accepted way of life, and those that must venture out after dark need to learn to conduct their business during the daylight hours.
Places of Interest
1) The Governor's Palace: The Governor’s palace is more of a fortress than a traditional palace. The Palace is by far the oldest building in the Peak, and possibly the entire city, as it was the first stone fortress constructed on the hill that would become the center of the city. Mortoth lives here, keeping with its tradition being the sitting General's residents going back to the founding of that position.
2) The Mulden Arms (Tenement): As the city grew and the area known as the Peak turned into the lavish section of the town where the rich and influential people lived, luxury tenements were erected to house the influx of people that sought to live there. The Mulden Arms is currently considered the most lavish place in the city where those who are not part of the Council of Lords can live.
3) Uhltrix’s Tower (Guild of Wizardry): Uhltrix’s tower is the tallest structure in the Peak and has a rather dull appearance to it. A rather large tower, it is rumored to have many entrances into pocket dimensions inside, as well as many magical defenses. Despite it being the Guild of Wizardry's home, none of its members are ever seen using the entrance to the tower, except when they are escorting visitors in and out of the tower.
4) The Cartographers and Academics Guild: Rookroost is not a city known for its architectural beauty. Instead, most buildings here favor a practical design, except for the Peak. In the Peak District, the city has beautifully designed buildings and gardens. The guildhall of the Cartographers and Academics guild is by far the most stunning of all the buildings in the city. Made of rose marble, the only building in the city made of such material and decorated with engravings and statues. The guild is proud of its hall and ensures it is kept in the best of conditions.
5) Architects Guildhall: While the guildhall of the Cartographers and Academics is the most beautiful building in Rookroost, the Architects guildhall is second. One would feel that the architects might feel a desire to outdo the Cartographers and Academics guild, but they designed the building, so when people comment on the beauty of that building, they are still tipping their hats to the Architects Guild. Their own guildhall has a simpler design with flowing and elegant curves. Unlike the Cartographers and Academics guild's grounds, the Architects guildhall has no garden to speak of.
6) Jewelers Guildhall: While the jeweler's guildhall looks like nothing more than a large manor house, it is heavily defended, and a keen eye will be able to pick out the security beyond the bars over the windows and the walled and gated entrance. Doors are sturdy and made of metal, not wood, and the walls of the place are several feet thick. The grounds and the interior are also patrolled by armed guards and packs of Rookroost Hounds.
7) Elara's Mansion: While space is at a premium in the Peak District, there are homes here as well, and the most notable of those homes is the one belonging to Elara Mornstar, the head of the Congress, Rookroost's thieves guild. The mansion is large, three stories all told, with a rooftop garden. Patrolled by at least twelve thieves guild members at all times and two packs of Rookroost hounds. The mansion is a mix of elegance and practicality. Elara spends surprisingly little time here though, instead preferring to be mixing among her fellow members of the Congress in the field.
8) Council Hall: The council hall for the Council of Lords is a small mansion that was converted into the council hall when the city was still young and was actually the General's first residence. The most impressive part of the council hall is its grounds. A lavish garden with a hedge maze, fountains, and groves of trees. The entire compound is walled and patrolled by a special detachment of Talons. If the council is in session during nice weather, they often meet in the garden where marble tables, benches, and shaded pavilion doubles as the council's assembly hall.
9) General's Tower: The general's tower is actually a small fort with a large tower. The tower itself is shorter than Uhltrix's tower but older. The General's tower housed the officers’ quarters of the Army of Rookroost and their staff. Since the army was dissolved, the Red Guard has taken up residence there now.
10) The Crystal Palace: While the Peak is the seat of Rookroost's power, it is still a district of the city with residents and people living there, and those people enjoy a drink as much as the next person. The Crystal Palace is a massive Inn and Tavern that caters to all the district's high-class people. Four stories with the top floor reserved for the most opulent of the city visitors, the Crystal Palace also functions as a proxy guest house for visiting dignitaries that are not important enough to stay within the Governor's mansion.
The common rabble is not allowed into the Crystal Palace, and the front door is guarded, and entry is by reservation only. The Crystal Palace gets its name from the dozen crystal chandeliers that hang from the common room's rafters, which doubles as it's dining area. The establishment has many private rooms and meeting rooms and a lavish garden rivaled only by the one found in the city's council hall.
The Crystal Palace has had several owners, the most recent being Bertrum Glitterstone, a gnome with an eye for the finer things in life, and a knack for providing it for others with discretion. Bertrum is an ex-member of the Congress and is good friends with Elara Mornstar.