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 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.
In this 9th installment for the City of Rookroost we start looking at the guilds of the city. The backbone of the founding of the city was it's guilds, before that it was just a collection of bandits. 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.
The Barbers and Dentists Guild – The barbers and dentists guild is another highly respected guild throughout the city. They offer services that are used by most that can afford them, and there are several clinics located even in Outwall where most novices will ply their trade to hone their skills. While the apothecaries and herbalists deal mainly with internal medicine, the barbers and dentists guild deal mainly with helping to heal physical trauma. Removing of arrows, sowing up of wounds, extracting teeth, and setting broken bones are common services.
While magical means of healing are available to the rich even, they will frequent the barbers and dentists first if they can. Magical healing is awfully expensive and sometimes reserved for members of temples only.
The cost of healing through the Barbers and Dentists Guild is 10gp per point of health or hit point recovered. The amount of health or hit points recovered in this way caps at 10. The remainder of lost hit points or health needs to be recovered through rest.
The Beggars Guild – The beggars guild is the largest in Rookroost, and while most people don't think of it as a real guild, they do have a guildhall located in Outwall, and they provide some services for its members. Despite the animosity shown toward the Beggars Guild by other guilds, it is recognized by the Council of Lords, and for a good reason, the taxes from the right to operate as a guild is a hefty sum.
Started initially by Tarzin Peddelquick, to help give the street level cut-purses and pickpockets protection from being shaken down by the Congress and the Talons, it quickly evolved into an institution that tried to provide an affordable alternative for those that couldn't get into other guilds. To be a member costs a 5gp entry fee followed by a 5cp a quarter fee. While still a sizable amount for the poor, the costs are far less than other guilds. Membership gets the citizen the gilded rank and access to the guilds soup kitchen at the guildhall.
The beggar’s guild is also a front for illegal activity, but they are careful to limit this activity to Outwall and unguilded citizens to avoid the wrath of not just the Congress but also the other guilds.
The Cartographers and Academics Guild – The cartographers and academics guild is very small, and most citizens are unaware that one even exists. Their guildhall is in The Peak and also doubles as the cities only library. The library is private, but nonmembers can pay a yearly fee of 10gp, which allows them access to the general area. In addition to the general area, there is also the private library for guild members only.
Despite the guild's anonymity with the general public, it is well known to all of the brigands and bandits that raid into neighboring kingdoms. These bandits know that the cartographers and academics guild will pay well for the right kind books. Most raiding parties will make it a point to bring back any books that they come across. Of course, most of these brigands are illiterate, and the books they get are worthless. Even worthless books will fetch a minimum of 1cp to help ensure the flow of books continues. The most prized books sought out by the guild are rare histories and nonmagical studies. All books that are arcane in nature are taken to the Guild of Wizardry, where they are sold at a discount for future considerations. The guild will pay upwards of 500gp for spell books and up to 200gp for rare histories and the like.
The Gravediggers Guild – Another small guild is the gravedigger’s guild, which is located well outside the city in the official cemetery of Rookroost. The cemetery is a small city of its own with rows of mausoleums and underground crypts. Only the rich have separate burials while the rest of the bodies brought to the cemetery are placed into mass graves.
Some Nerull and Wee Jas priests are part of the gravedigger’s guild and help keep the area free of the undead, at least undead they do not control. These priests employ a small army of zombies that perform most of the physical labor in the cemetery, but they hire out zombies to those willing to pay them the cost of animating them. The House of the Dead is the name of the guildhall of the gravedigger’s guild, located in the cemetery, and resembles an old Keep.
Besides the cemetery's care and upkeep, the gravedigger’s guild works hand-in-hand with the Night Merchants, the licensed collectors of the dead that roam the city streets. Many of the Night Merchants are also members of the Gravediggers Guild, but only about a quarter of them. The city gives the Gravediggers guild 2gp for each body they dispose of, one for the Gravediggers Guild, and one that is paid to the Night Merchants for collecting them.
The Jewelers and Gem-cutters Guild – Another small guild is the Jewelers and Gem-cutters guild. Located in the Peak District, the guild is the go-to place to unload gems and jewelry for the best price. While they do run a shop in the Peak, they also have shops located in the Inner-City and Outer-City districts. Their main trade is the re-cutting of gems to move them back to markets outside of the Bandit Kingdoms.
The Laborers Guild – Second only in size to the Beggars Guild is the laborers guild. Made up of the common laborers in the city, it has the second-lowest dues membership fee. The guild members provide physical labor for most of the city-run projects and everyday activities. The Talons hire foremen from this guild to oversee their work details of prisoners sentenced to forced labor. The League of Merchants also employs members of the Laborers Guild to load wagons, dig trenches, or any other mundane work that might be needed.
While Rookroost has a larger population of brigands and bandits, over half of the people within these lands are ordinary folk. Workers, farmers, and the like and the laborers Guild is their representative. Even in a notorious city such as Rookroost, there are farms in the countryside. Joining the laborers guild is the number one way of deterring bandits from pilfering their crops. Punishment for those that prey upon the working class of Rookroost is severe if they are guilded citizens.
The Laborers Guild is the only guild with no main guildhall, but instead, it has chapter houses spread throughout the city. While considered an unskilled guild, the Laborers Guild has strong ties to the Lord of Brick that heavily relies on them.
The Leatherworkers and Masons Guild – The Leatherworkers and Masons guild has a strong affiliation with the Lord of Brick, who uses their services on projects. Along with other artisans’ guilds, this guild makes up the backbone of the guild structure that the city operates on. While more specialized than the Butchers, Backers and Cooks Guild, or the Laborer’s Guild, the Leatherworkers and Masons guild still considers itself among the working-class. Their guild hall is found in the Outer-City and is a practical stone house.
The Mercenary and Free Swords Guild- To newcomers of Rookroost, this might seem like a prestigious guild, but it is not. Rookroost has many Mercenary Troops and Companies that call it home, and these groups all file for separate guild recognition. For those mercenaries that are not part of one of these troops or companies, there is the Mercenary and Free Swords Guild. Members rely on the guild to help them get work and help them to maintain arms and armor. While members are generally employed together in groups, there is no real cohesion among them like traditional mercenary troops and companies. Because of this, the work that a member of the guild gets is generally nothing better than routine guard work.
Despite their poor reputation, the Mercenary and Free Swords Guild still has a considerable sway because of their large membership, which swelled in numbers after the Rookroost army disbanded. Mortoth has also been keen to utilize them closer to home when he needs extra manpower instead of relying on the humanoid forces, he commands for the Great Old One.
The Messengers Guild- The messenger guild is a highly specialized collection of talented rangers, rogues, and spellcasters that have a knack for moving about unnoticed. Those that can disguise themselves or use magic to travel great distances are highly sought-after recruits for the guild. The Messenger’s Guild is one of the few guilds in Rookroost that have guildhalls outside of the city and throughout the Free Lords' lands.
Founded over 100 years ago after the city had become well established and a hub of influence. The guild formed to fill the need to deliver messages in a land of constant turmoil and shifting alliances. Magical messages can be tricky at best, as the Free Lords' wizards have become very adept at intercepting or blocking magical communications.
Because of this, Silva Torren, a master thief from the Congress, began his service of delivering messages. Agreeing to pay a monthly tribute to the Congress, he was allowed to separate from them and fully develop his organization. The fact that Silva had amassed tons of blackmail material over his fellow members in the Congress didn't hurt either.
Today, the Messengers guild's offices can be found in all the cities and towns within the Bandit Kingdoms' lands. They also have offices in both of the Urnst states, Furyondy and The Shield Lands. The Messengers guild has never worked with or for Iuz or his minions. While several offices have recently closed down due to the war, their services are still in high demand.
The Moneychangers and Pawnbrokers Guild – Rookroost has never had an official currency or mint because the city has never had a shortage of coin flooding in with the brigands and bandits from their raids. Merchants and shop owners will accept any currency, but that’s not where the problem lies; the problem is for the merchants that come to Rookroost and into the Bandit Kingdoms to do business. Merchants Caught with coinage from several nations might tip-off authorities they were doing business in the Bandit Kingdoms, a moniker that could severely damage their reputation. Merchants can use the moneychangers to swap out the coin they might acquire during a stay in Rookroost for their homelands before heading home.
Foreign Merchants sneaking into Rookroost to buy illegally stolen goods is a tradition as old as the city itself. Still, they are not always in the city in large numbers, especially during the winter. During these leaner times, bandits can go to pawnbrokers to sell their goods or pawn a sword they might not need until raiding season comes around again, or even settle a gambling debt. These middlemen can keep the wheels of commerce running smoothly even if at a discounted cost to their customers.
In earlier years, competition between Pawnbrokers was as fierce as the rivalries between competing bandit groups, and those rivalries would often turn violent. Eventually, as the guilds took hold in Rookroost, the pawnbrokers banded together into a guild for its benefits. Today, their shops can be found in all the city districts, and they have a monopoly on it. Anyone that wants to open a store must get approval from them first. If a foolish person opens a pawnshop without permission, they soon realize that no one will go there for fear of being banned from guild pawnshops.
Cost of Services
Pawning items - In Rookroost, pawning is a way to get some quick cash but allow you to get it your items back. As a rule of thumb, a character can get up to 50% of an item's value in a loan. The rate of interest varies depending on your status, but there is a cap to it. The total amount of interest will need to be paid to retrieve the item from pawn, and this includes the interest which is tacked onto the total regardless of whether the item is taken out of pawn immediately. To find your interest rate roll on the chart below, adding in any charisma modifiers of appropriate skill modifiers such as persuasion and the like.
Purchasing Items from a Pawnshop: The other benefit of a pawnshop is finding useful items cheaper than the going market rate. The downside is that sometimes those items are not of the best quality. Pawnshops are also poor places to find more mundane objects, as they only want items with decent value to them. Because of this, if the item is under 5gp in value, pawnshops will not bother with them. The chart below shows the possibility of an item being found in a pawn shop and how it’s value modifies that. Items purchased from a pawn shop can be bought at 60% of the current market value, but there is a chance that there is something wrong with it. Each Item purchased by a player requires a roll of a 1D100, and on a result of 10 or lower, there is something wrong with the item. What exactly is wrong with it will be up to the GM’s interpretation, but whatever it is not noticeable.
In this 8th installment for the City of Rookroost we start looking at the guilds of the city. The backbone of the founding of the city was it's guilds, before that it was just a collection of bandits. 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.
While the Congress might be the power behind the scenes, the guilds are still the lifeblood of Rookroost. The city would be nothing more than a collection of tents, brothels, and taverns if it weren’t for the guilds who helped turn the place into what it is.
It is a common misconception that there is only one guild for a craft or service. The truth is many guilds make up the larger super guilds that dominate the city. There are also many smaller stores and shops unaffiliated with the guilds in Outwall, and some in the Outer-City. The super guilds are, however, the ones that are detailed below in greater detail, while the smaller ones are left up to the judge or game master to flesh out and use as they see fit.
Unaligned guilds are far more likely to fall victim to being robbed and bullied by the city's criminals. Those owners who can hire guards, but most simply live in their stores and guard them themselves. Those who live in Outwall are in constant vigilance and fear of someone kicking in their door to rob them. The best security for the money are dogs, and the Rookroost Hound is a breed of dog that has been bred over the centuries to be a fierce and loyal guard dog. Unfortunately, no matter how well trained a hound is, it’s still no guarantee that they can keep every burglar at bay. The hounds themselves can be a burden, and there are packs of stray dogs that roam Outwall and can be dangerous to children and smaller humanoids or solitary citizens.
The Apothecaries and Herbalists Guild – The apothecaries and herbalists guild is highly regarded and respected by all the other guilds in Rookroost. In a highly divided city such as Rookroost, the guild is known for its neutrality when dealing with the public, something that can't be said for most other guilds. Their potions and poultices are for all that can afford them. While most of their wares are not cheap, they tend to keep the prices fair, which surprises most in a city known for its greed. The guild's fairness is attributed to Mauldren Borrow, a kind and elderly druid who has been the guilds leader for the past thirty years.
The Apothecaries and Herbalist’s Guild is on good terms with the Guild of Wizardry, and several residents hold membership in both organizations. Usually, this would be a problem in other guilds, but the wizards and apothecaries are not rivals.
While the apothecaries and herbalists produce many magical items, their main stock in trade is non-magical remedies and products. These non-magical remedies are bought in significant quantities by the city's barbers and dentists, which is another guild they have a strong relationship with.
The Apothecaries guildhall, which doubles as their storefront, is located in the Inner City. The guild also employs a wagon that acts as a mobile dispensary that travels through Outwall and the Outer-city several times a week. The wagon, of course, is well guarded.
Anti-Poison: In a city full of shady individuals as Rookroost, poison is easy to come by, and poisonings are an everyday occurrence. Common toxins are from local sources, and symptoms and side effects are well known, and anti-poison to counter these poisons are relatively easy to make. However, poisons with harder to find ingredients will, of course, drive up the price. If the anti-poison is taken within one round after exposure, it can counteract the poison removing the poisoned effect.
NOTE: anti-poisons will always work against common poisons, but there is a 10% chance that it will be ineffective against an uncommon poison, and 20% it could be ineffective against a rare poison. The reason for this is the vast number of poisons that the apothecary must try and counter, of which no apothecary is 100% aware or versed in. In addition to this, the poison dosage can drastically affect the way an ant-poison might work. These variables are summarized in the percentage chance that the rarer the poison, the greater the possibility that the anti-poison might not work.
Balm: A balm is a fragrant or aromatic ointment spread upon the skin to dilute a topical poison spread. When applied, it will give a +1 to poison saves, and can 1/2 the duration of the poison effect, and provide the patient resistance to the poison damage. The balm results last for the duration of one long rest before needing to be reapplied.
Elixir: A tincture or medicine consisting of a sweetened alcoholic solution of a small quantity of the drug or drugs, thus compounded. Patients who ingest an elixir will receive a +1 to saves vs. poison and diseases and decrease the duration of the poison or disease's effects. Patients taking an elixir will have resistance to damage taken from the poison or disease during the period while they have ingested the elixir. If taken over two days, it will cure the poison or diseased patient if the substance's duration has not run its course. The elixir can only be administered once per long rest.
Fortifier: A medicine that fortifies the patient taking it from contracting a disease or ailment. Patients taking the fortifier will receive a +1 to any saving throw to resist the effects of a disease or illness for the duration of one long rest before needing to be reapplied.
Liniment: An oil medicine, a type of liquid ointment, used to treat ailments of the skin such as bruises, lacerations, or burns. If applied to an affected area, it will increase the area's healing by allowing the reroll of a 1 or 2 for the number of hit points regained by the patient. This applies to magical healing and the taking of hit dice during a rest. The liniment can only be used once per short or long rest.
Philtre: A potion or type of charm used to bring about magical effects and cures. While wearing a Philtre to ward against a specific kind of effect or ailment, the character will receive a +1 to saving throws against the type of effect that the philtre is specifically designed for. Examples of common Philtres aid in saving throws against poison, disease, cold, fire, acid, physical exertion (strength checks). Philtres will retain their potency for one month's time per 1,000gp spent on the philtre. Philtre's that have lost their potency can have them rejuvenated by an alchemist at the cost of 500gp for each additional month.
Restorative: A lotion, poultice, potion, or similar substance that restores the loss of sight or hearing due to a disease or ailment. The patient receives a +1 to all saving throws to recover from their vision effects once per application. Applications can not exceed more than one dose per 24 period. Only one bonus per save per application occurs.
Spirit: A spirit is a substance consumed usually in a liquid form that allows the patient to ignore the effects of an injury or ailment during the duration of the spirits' effect. The spirit does not aid in healing the injury or ailment but will allow the patient to ignore its effects for the duration while the spirit is taking effect, which lasts no longer than one short rest. Each subsequent use of the spirit requires an additional dose to be effective until a maximum of three treatments have been reached, after which time the spirit will no longer retain its potency. Spirits do not mask the effects of blindness or deafness or any magically induced side effects such as charm, hold person or feeble mind.
Stimulant: A lotion, poultice, potion, or similar substance that, once applied, induces an effect that bolsters their ability to perform physical saving throws for the duration of one long rest. During this time, the patient will receive a bonus of +1 to any STR, CON, or DEX saving throw that they perform for the duration that they are under the stimulant's effects. A period of one long rest without use of the substance must be allowed between applications to avoid a wisdom saving through to resist becoming addicted to the substance. Each period of use without a long rest will require a DC 10 +1 per use without a long rest to avoid becoming addicted. For example. Using the stimulant three times in a row will require a DC 13 saving throw to avoid becoming addicted. Multiple uses of the stimulant do not increase the potency of the saving throw bonus above the +1. Patients becoming addicted to the stimulant will suffer a -1 to all INT, WIS, and CHR saving throws until a period of time equal to the number of does taken consecutively in long rests has elapsed. At that time, the patient returns to normal.
The Architects Guild – This small and exclusive guild has an office in the Inner City and works exceptionally close with the Lord of Brick, who is the guilds, principal employer. The Architects guild is known for its simple yet highly functional designs. In a city like Rookroost, it's essential that your buildings last with only intermittent repairs at best, and the Architects guild specializes in such structures.
The Assassins Guild – The assassin's guild has been a part of the Congress in the past, but each time the assassin’s guild is assimilated by them, another one pops into existence to take its place as an independent entity. Despite the Congress' desire to have a monopoly on the professional killing business, there are far too many organizations that need these kinds of services, and many of them are not on the best of terms with the Congress.
The current assassin’s guild has been in independent operations for just over twenty years, and it appears the inhabitants of Rookroost wish to keep it that way. The Assassins Guild takes significant steps to ensure that they stay independent from the local political scene because being seen to favor any organization is bad for business. It is commonly believed that the assassins guild carried out the deaths during the Night of the Silent Deaths. Of course, no proof was found to prove this, and no one is willing to publicly accuse them of it and draw the ire of these professional killers.
A building known as The Black House is the public office of the guild. It's a small, unassuming building in the Outer-City. The people that work there are go-betweens that relay the work to the assassins through drops and couriers. The actual members of the guild are secret, and if a particular member is outed, they are dismissed from the guild. While a rare occurrence, those ousted usually find employment with the Congress or are killed by their former guild members.
NOTE* For contracts for targets above level 17, the cost must be negotiated.
The Bakers, Butchers, and Cooks Guild – The bakers, Butchers, and Cook’s guild is one of the larger guilds in the city as their services are used by many of the cities citizens. The guild tries to ensure that prices are reasonably set, but the guild's primary purpose is to provide safety to its members. It also gives them the buying power to ensure that the necessary ingredients for their jobs flow into the city and at a price they can afford. The guild has close ties to the Lord of Brick, who usually is the one that champions their causes.
The main guildhall is known as The Kitchen, and is in the Outer-City, but their members can be found throughout Rookroost. Those who work in Outwall, or the Outer-City, often wear an armband with the hearth symbol of the guild on it to readily recognize that they are part of a guild and not someone to be lightly trifled with.
In this 7th installment for the City of Rookroost we take look at the very unique system of laws in Rookroost and how they don't apply to everyone. 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.
The Rule of Guilded and Unguilded Law
The Bandit Kingdoms' lands are a chaotic place at best, and Rookroost is a prime example. While some places have a semblance of law and order, none would be your typical law and order found in other places of the Flanaess. Rookroost has plenty of laws and regulations, but none of them apply to everyone in the same fashion. There are two completely separate sets of laws: one for guilded citizens, and one for everyone else.
The laws passed by the Council of Lords are not designed to benefit ordinary citizens but the members of guilds instead. The guilds and factions want to ensure that no one can take their possessions or harm them without repercussion; they also don't want to include everyone in their little club. Robbers and thieves founded the city, and the idea of not being able to steal from someone legally was unappealing to the cities founders.
Anyone that steals from a guilded member, and gets caught, must return or reimburse the victim for the total amount of stolen or damaged property. In addition to the reimbursement, the magistrates of the Courts of Rookroost can levy a fine. Fines are determined by the magistrate, with half of the fine going to the city coffers, and a half to the victim of the crime. Those who cannot pay will either be sentenced to forced labor or, more likely, sold into slavery. At no time will a criminal be in danger of going to jail if they have the resources to pay everyone off. Even in death cases, the offender will be forced to pay the amount determined by the magistrate. With most minor crimes, the capture and payment of fines can all occur on the streets or where the crime occurred. Guilded members are only taken to jail when the crime is severe or do not have the coin to pay the fine. Guilded members are allowed to send a message to have the funds delivered to the jail so they can be released. When a crime is committed between a guilded member and an unguilded member, the punishment is usually the same, except there is typically a period of forced labor accompanying the fine for the unguilded.
Due to the unfairness of the system and the steep cost of seeking legal justice, assassins are in high demand for dispensing vengeance for those who feel the courts can not satisfy them.
Crime and Punishment
The courts of Rookroost are headed by magistrates appointed by the Council of Lords and are, of course, guilded citizens. Most cases rarely go to trial, having fines paid out instead. Magistrates cannot have membership in the same guild as the plaintiff or defendants in a trial they oversee. Magistrates are appointed to terms of three years, after which they must be reappointed. How much coin a magistrate generates for the city through their rulings has a direct influence on their being reappointed. Heavy-handed Judges generally don't work out as well as those that are willing to find common ground. The city has thirteen active magistrates at all times.
With the legal system being such a sham, there are no lawyers in Rookroost because there is no real litigation, only compromise. However, some legal scholars that can advise clients how best to bribe their way out of their charges do exist.
The following list of crimes are punishable when committed by either a guilded or unguilded citizen. Each offense has a fine connected to it, along with a possible work sentence and other punishments.
Arson – In arson cases, those charged with a crime are forced to pay for damages and a fine of 50 to 100gp. In arson cases with losses greater than 20gp a sentence of 1 to 4 years of forced labor, or a penalty of 100gp per year sentenced may be levied.
Assault – Assault is a common crime, especially in a city like Rookroost full of brigands and bandits. Most assaults will generally result in little more than a fine of 1 to 20gp and a night in jail, but for more serious assaults, which usually means influential people were hurt, the fine can be as much as 100 to 200gp and up to 1 to 2 years of forced labor.
Burglary and Theft – Crimes of burglary and theft are only enforced when the victims are guilded citizens. If convicted of this crime, the condemned must repay the stolen items' value, and any property damaged a result of the burglary or theft. Fines range from 50gp to 100gp, and forced labor is generally only enforced with the inability to pay fines. The minimum time sentenced is one year, with additional years added per 1,000 gp of value stolen.
Damaging Property – The crime of property damage is only enforced if the property is that of a guilded citizen. Those convicted of this crime must pay the cost of repairing or replacing said property and pay a fine of 50 to 100gp.
Importing of Controlled items – The term, controlled items, refers to things that cannot be imported into the city to resell. These items are the sole domain of guilds that have obtained a charter to do so. These items are as follows.
· Magical Items
· Consumables – Drink/Food/Spirits
· Weapons and armor
Anyone caught smuggling in these items without the proper authority will have all the items confiscated without compensation. A fine of 10gp per 100gp of value in goods smuggled into the city is also levied. Permission to deal in these goods is obtained through the Council of Lords in the form of a writ of import. A Writ of Import generally costs either 100gp per shipment or 1,000gp for a full year. A writ can be obtained through the offices of the Lord of Merchants.
Practicing Magic Within the city in public- The use of magic is controlled within the city since the time of Latavius. Public displays of magic are illegal without the Lord of Letters' permission in the form of a Writ of Practice. Getting a Writ of Practice is relatively easy, provided the magic performed is not dangerous and easily contained. A Writ of Practice is good for one day from sunup to sundown. The writ's cost depends on the type of magic performed; in other words, the level of the magic. The charge of the writ is 100gp per level. With 1st level magic being 100gp, 2nd level being 200gp, and so on. Purchasing a Writ of Practice at a third level will allow you to perform magic of lower levels on the same day as well. Performing cantrips has a cost of 50gp for the day.
Casting within the privacy of one’s own home is allowed provided that person is a member of the Guild of Wizardry.
Casting of magic that directly or indirectly affects others - If someone casts magic that directly affects another person, then the victim is entitled to a settlement of roughly 100gp per level of the spell provided they were not a willing participant. The caster will also suffer a fine of 100gp per level of the spell and pay for any damages. If a guilded citizen's death occurs from an unauthorized spell, the spell's caster will be hanged. The death of an ungilded citizen carries an additional fine of 500gp. These strict sentences, of course, depends on those involved. Members of the Guild of Wizardry have some leeway and are rarely held accountable for this behavior unless it is against other guilded citizens. If the caster is guilded and the victim an unguilded citizen, then only a fine is levied.
Magical Interference of Authority – Surprisingly, the use of magic to impede or interfere with the functions of the Rookroost government has a much stricter punishment leveled against it than the casting of magics in the city against citizens. The Council of Lords agrees that the greatest threat to it, at least after the hordes of Iuz, is allowing magic to go unchecked when it comes to the collection of taxes. There is a strict ban on glamours, illusions, and all mind-altering magic outside of spells sanctioned by the Lord of Letters.
The typical fine of 100gp per level of the spell still applies, but a minimum of one year of forced labor is attached to these fines per level of the spell. Thus a 3rd level spell would have a three-year sentence and a 4th level spell a four-year sentence.
Scrying, illusion, and non-detection spells are only permissible if authorized with a Writ of Practice. When petitioning for these spells the council will usually only permit the casting to be performed by a member of the Guild of Wizardry.
Murder – Murder is common in the Outer City and Outwall but uncommon in the Inner City and very rare in the Peak. Those guilded citizens, with membership in a well-established guild, expect a fair amount of protection for the coin, which translates into an increased presence of Talons in the Inner-City and The Peak.
Unsurprisingly, if a guilded citizen murders a non-guilded citizen, there is at best only a fine levied against them. This fine is usually no more than 50gp. However, it depends on where that murder occurred. While it’s harder for non-guilded citizens to gain access to the Inner City and the Peak, they are safer there regardless of their citizenship status. A murder carried out in the Outer-City would be 100gp fine while in the Inner-City, the fine would be 200gp and a year of forced labor. In the Peak, the fine jumps to 500gp and six years of forced labor. Non-guilded citizens sentenced with committing murder in the Inner-City and the Peak are hanged.
Incarceration – When charged with imprisonment, or forced labor, prisoners are taken to the Slab. Originally built to house Rookroost's army, the walled was eventually transformed into a prison as the army outgrew it. It’s a sturdy structure constructed out of large granite blocks shipped in from the Rift Canyon. It gets its nickname from the fact that it’s a rather plain-looking keep with no adornments or style to it. Located in Outwall, the Slab looms over the nicest neighborhoods of that district. The proximity to the prison and the comings and goings of the Talons stationed there makes this section of Outwall less chaotic than the rest. A detachment of Talons are stationed here as the guards of the prison.
If the convicted cannot pay off their fines at the time of their trial, they are taken to the Slab to work off their fines or serve their sentence. Even after entering the Slab to serve their sentence, a convict can still pay off any labor sentence.
In this 6th installment for the City of Rookroost we take another look at the power structure of the city and its power brokers. Many different factions vie for power within its walls, and outside of them. 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.
Wherever people gather, the gods they worship are not far behind, and Rookroost is no exception. While the gods worshiped in Rookroost are a motley bunch, they are openly worshiped. One might think that this type of religious freedom is refreshing, but it has led to open hostilities between different faiths. This hostility, which could flare up at a moment’s notice, was the main reason the Council of Lords added the Lord of Temples' to the council. This figurehead helps them to mediate differences and settle qualms between the faiths nonviolently. Of course, this does not mean that the animosities between rival gods have disappeared, just that it has become more discrete and gone underground.
Initially, no such position was considered for the Council of Lords because no one believed priests would listen to anyone except their patrons on how to conduct themselves. Of all the gods worshiped within Rookroost, only one is acknowledged by all the faiths; Istus, goddess of fate. Being in her graces is said to open more doors of opportunity for a worshiper, while angering, or mocking her, limiting one's possibilities. Regardless of the validity of these beliefs, no one wishes to have a life of limited opportunity. Since she speaks nothing against other deities, she is worshiped widely even by those that venerate other gods. Because of this, the position of the Lord of Temples has been held by a priest of Istus since its inception.
The Lord of Temples helps to make sure that all holy days and festivals do not impede the city's everyday traffic and business. While some religious rites can be unsavory, none are outlawed so long as they are performed in private. The Lord also helps organize all large festivals and gatherings, with the majority held outside the city walls.
There are occasions when the different religions unite to throw their collective force behind a cause, usually in opposition to some religion's rights being taken away, like worshippers of Nerull right to give blood sacrifices in public. All the faiths realize that once one of them loses their rights, it could cause a domino effect. Despite these odd moments of solidarity, the temples are a diverse collection of independent churches and temples.
The Rebel Scum
Rookroost being the largest of the cities found in the Free Lords lands is considered the unofficial capital of the region. The Great Old One realized this and placed high importance in taking it intact. Iuz had no desire to see this gem destroyed when he could reap the benefits of its resources. The sensitivity of capturing and holding the city is believed to be why Mortoth was handpicked to capture it. Most of Iuz's other generals couldn't be trusted not to destroy it in the process. Rookroost's strategic importance to the Great Old One's empire is not lost on his enemies either. Because of this, several resistance and rebel groups operate within the city.
While Iuz is a foul and evil being that commands hordes of terrible humanoids and demons, not all of his foes are fighting for justice and freedom. The resistance groups that sprung up from the Free Lords' destroyed kingdoms were far from shining examples of good. Unlike in the Rift Canyon, and the Fellreev Forest Rookroost has no significant resistance group made up of local fighters.
The Congress tries to keep tabs on the rebel groups as best they can, and when possible, they will pass on the locations of any resistance groups to Mortoth. To the Congress, it's in their best interest to keep Mortoth in power, at least for now. If the winds should change, and it appears that the minions of the Great Old Ones might be ousted, they would most certainly turn from hampering these resistance groups to helping them. They currently allow some groups to exist in Rookroost, but only so long as their influence and numbers are not significant. If one begins to get out of hand, the Congress takes measures to keep them in check.
Below are the major factions in the resistance that are currently active and attempting to destroy or interfere with all of Iuz's plans whenever they can.
Chief among the Great Old One's rivals on the battlefield is the kingdom of Furyondy. Located southwest of the Free Lords' lands, Furyondy interacted little with them. Now with the Bandit Kingdoms helping to fuel the armies of Iuz they have become a major target of covert operations to disrupt all assistance flowing from there.
To help destabilize the region, bands of spies from Furyondy, often lead by paladins and priests of Trithereon, the god of freedom, have moved infiltrated the city. A group headed by a paladin named Arnol Marsh leads the freedom fighters within Rookroost. Marsh's main job is to destabilize all aid that would be heading from Rookroost to the empire of Iuz. Including the quarterly tribute collected in the region and sent to Doraka. In addition to hampering with the delivery of tribute, the Furyondian resistance fighters act as saboteurs. Marsh also attempts to gather as much intelligence on the Free Lords' realms' activities and send it back to Furyondy.
While Marsh hates the people of Ravensrook and the Free Lords, he hates the Great Old One's minions even more. Despite this hatred, he realizes that his mission comes first, and all under his command realize that tipping their hand of being Furyondy agents is not acceptable. Marsh and his people often will plant evidence at the scenes of their attacks to mislead Mortoth's men into thinking it's either the Horned Society's agents or even sometimes the resistance fighters from the Shield Lands.
Marsh knows Beanor Borralis, the Shield Land's resistance fighters' leader in Rookroost, but has only met him twice. Marsh does not coordinate jobs with Borralis as he thinks that the man is far too wild and unpredictable and would draw undue attention to his people.
The Shield Lands
One of the worst-hit lands during the Greyhawk Wars was the kingdom of the Shield Lands. The Shield Lands' lords rose from a collection of smaller nations that banded together to protect themselves from their neighbors. The glue that kept them together was the widespread worship of Heironeous, a god of justice, honor, war, and courage.
More than half of the Shield Lands now lies in their enemies' hands and has been for nearly seven years. While the war is technically over, skirmishes along the border are frequent. It is a well-known secret that both sides are merely licking their wounds and preparing for future hostilities.
The Shield Lands sends small bands of agents into their former lands to fight a continuous subterfuge and resistance battle. The occupying humanoids easily root out most. The Bandit Kingdoms are far easier to infiltrate and operate in with its high volume of rebels and resistance fighters. These resistance fighters either join forces with or simply merge quietly with these rebels to help them carry the fight to Iuz.
In Rookroost, one such band is led by a fiery and hot-tempered fighter named Beanor Borralis. Beanor is a man with a death wish, and he intends to go out in the biggest ball of destruction that he can orchestrate. Despite this death wish, Borralis, realizes that he still has a job to do in Rookroost, and until he can find a suitable way of accomplishing his mission, he bids his time and tries to disrupt as much of the Great Old Ones plans as possible. Borralis has attempted to waylay the tribute caravan to Doraka seven times and failed each time at great cost.
Borralis sees the use of fear as a weapon, and unlike his counterpart, Arnol Marsh from Furyondy, Borralis, and his people often leave a calling card in the form of the symbol of Heironeous carved or painted onto the corpses they leave behind.
The Horned Society
The Great Old One's demon and humanoid hordes were not the only feared nation in the region before the Greyhawk Wars; the lands of the Horned Society had grand plans of empire themselves. A more orderly land than the Empire of Iuz, the Horned Society, was methodical in its preparedness and conquest plans. Run by a council of 13, known as Hierarchs, they also employed armies of humanoids but preferred the more organized and reliable Hobgoblins over orcs. Many considered them a greater threat than Iuz, at least until most of the thirteen were assassinated and the whole of their lands taken over in a nearly bloodless coup.
While the coupe eliminated most of the Hierarchs, a few were able to anticipate or survive the assassination attempts and flee. No one is sure how many survived, but Hierarch Nezmajen, a priest of Nerull, fled to the Fellreev with a small band and has been recruiting and reorganizing there.
Nezmajen sees the Bandit Kingdoms as a linchpin to helping regain the lost territories of the Horned Society. The Free Lords provide needed supplies, resources, and more reliable troops for the Great Old One's war machine. Without them, Iuz's plans for domination would fall flat and grind to a halt. Wishing to destabilize the region, which needs little encouragement, Nezmajen has sent small groups of saboteurs and assassins to critical locations in the Bandit Kingdoms, with Rookroost being of particular interest.
Heading Nezmajen's efforts inside the city is Karst, a half-drow assassin. Karst is sly and cunning and recruits via third person most of her operatives. She relies on small bands of loyal Horned Society operatives to help her coordinate them. Rookroost is ideal for this kind of tactic as the city is overflowing with desperate men and women looking to make quick coin. Karst's favorite tactic is having her operatives pose as members of the Congress when recruiting for missions as it redirects attention and helps to sow the seeds of dissent.
In this 5th installment for the City of Rookroost we take another look at the power structure of the city and its power brokers. Many different factions vie for power within its walls, and outside of them. 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.
The Horde of The Great Old One
Grand Marshall Mortoth only leads one of four armies that invaded the Bandit Kingdoms. One was designated to invade the western lands, one headed to the Heartlands and the Rift Canyon region. At the same time, another was tasked with trying to clear out the giant forest of the Fellreev, leaving Rookroost to Mortoth. Of these four armies that invaded, only two remain. The army that attacked the west was withdrawn after treaties with Chief Ulgun, head of the Hobgoblin confederation, secured their western border. The army tasked with the emptying of the Fellreev was annihilated, leaving only Mortoth's and the army lead by Cranzer, which destroyed the heartlands and is camped around the Rift Canyon.
Officially, Cranzer, a dark sorcerer, is the commander for all of the Bandit Kingdoms, but Mortoth pays the wizard no attention. With the departure of the demons that had been so effective in subduing the Free Lords now banished, Cranzer's forces are little more than a horde of unruly humanoids. Cranzer would love to beat Mortoth into submission or even crush him and his private army, but the rebels and freedom fighters in the Rift Canyon and the Fellreev keep him fully occupied.
In addition to bands of former bandits, Cranzer is dealing with insurgents from the lands of Furyondy, The Shield Lands, Urnst, and remnants of the Horned Society looking to undermine the region and deny the Great Old One the resources they plunder from it.
With Mortoth busy controlling Rookroost, his horde's running fell to his 2nd in command, Kostana. Staying with tradition, when it comes to assigning command of armies, Mortoth was paired with a power-hungry subordinate to keep him on his toes. Within the chaos that is the lands of the Great Old One, there is a firm belief that the best results come when fear is a motivator. Despite Kostana's ambition, Mortoth has no fear of her and has shown open contempt towards her, while fear of Mortoth undermines Kostana's attempts to sew dissension among its ranks.
Kostana has tried setting up a spy network within Rookroost to keep tabs on Mortoth, but those few she has been able to place without the Congress finding out about have given her minimal intelligence. The ambitious half-orc reports all that she thinks might be traitorous back to Dorakan; unfortunately, she has yet to hear anything back or be given permission to oust Mortoth. Not even Cranzer trusts in her ability to spy on Mortoth and refuses to join her in these attempts.
Kostana spends most of her time leading detachments of Mortoth's horde on various sorties into neighboring lands and putting down uprisings within the eastern half of the Free Lords' Lands. Toth has even sent her on several occasions into the Fellreev forest, missions that always lead to high casualties hoping that Kostana might fall to the rebels hiding there.
The Merchants League
The Merchants League of Rookroost lost much of the influence they once had, but their coin can still buy a lot, making them dangerous to cross. Many of the precautions they installed in the government to ensure their authority endured have eroded. Infiltration from the Congress and corruption from within was inevitable. Things have become so bad that most of the high-ranking guilds in the league hire their protection in the form of mercenary troops and spies instead of trusting the government they were instrumental in forming.
The Generalship had always been a staunch ally of the Merchant League, and the two worked hard to help counterbalance the power of the Congress. This tactic sometimes worked if the sitting General was like-minded, but not all were, and some preferred the easy coin of looking the other way. Despite the back and forth power struggle with the Congress, the thieves guild never strangled the Merchants League to the point that they were not profitable. The Congress always knew that they thrived when the Merchants League thrived.
The Merchants League, which is a collection of the most prosperous and merchant guilds in the city, has always been the destination of merchants looking to strike it rich. The wealth that one can make in Rookroost is well known, and it attracts thousands of merchants from neighboring and far off nations. Most of them end up destitute, and a fair amount end up dead, but the allure of fast money keeps a steady stream of them coming. The flow of these merchants slowed considerably during the war. Still, now that it's been over five years since the treaties were signed ending it, they have been coming in even higher numbers as the war created a more significant amount of desperate men and women looking to earn fortunes.
Merchants coming to Rookroost looking to strike it rich have first to find a guild willing to take them on or have enough resources of their own to start a guild and go freelance. The Merchants League funnels the ill-gotten goods from the bandits and brigands back into the very nations they plundered.
The power brokers within the Merchants League is in constant flux as merchants come, strike it rich, and leave. Merchants also tend to get killed in deals gone bad or merely rubbing people the wrong way. Even the most influential merchants are not immune to this, although it is rare.
While the Congress is always looking for muscle to employ, so is the Merchants League. The League funds expeditions and raiding parties if they feel like the return is worth it, and they are continually looking for guards for their caravans leaving Rookroost.
The Guild of Wizardry
One of the later additions to the power structure in Rookroost was the Guild of Wizardry. While there had always been the odd spellcaster in the city, the most famous being Uhltrix the Unwise, they had been more a motley collection of wizards and sorcerers looking out for themselves. Uhltrix worked with many of the brigand and bandit groups and regularly dealt with Valtavian. Uhltrix outlived Valtavian, though, and his original tower in the Peak is still standing and acts as the Guild of Wizardry's headquarters. No one knows what happened to Uhltrix, but his apprentices are the wizards that formed the Rookroost’s Guild of Wizardry.
Once Uhltrix disappeared, his apprentices soon found the respect they had enjoyed previously was because of the fear the brigands had of their master. Once enough time had passed, and everyone had become convinced Uhltrix wasn’t coming back, the pressure was put on his apprentices to join other guilds. Questions over ownership of Uhltrix's tower arose as many of the powerful guilds sought to claim it. The apprentices knew to ensure their freedom; they would need to stick together, so they declared themselves the Guild of Wizardry and began conducting business as such.
Elshore, Uhltrix's senior apprentice, took control of the guild, and began offering services at standard rates. Still, in a place like Rookroost, your credibility on the streets means everything, and the wizards at the new guild were more academic. Because none of the current members of the guild had fried anyone on the streets with magic, they were still hounded by those looking to get at the treasures supposedly in Uhltrix's tower. With so much attention targeting them, they rarely left the tower, and when they did, it was under heavy escort.
As word spread of the new Guild of Wizardry in Rookroost, the Bandit Kingdoms' wizards flocked to join a guild of like-minded individuals and have some semblance of safety. One of them was named Razohr the Grim. Not long after Razhor joined the ideas of pilfering the tower and bullying, the guild's members changed. Razohr was not just the most powerful wizard in the lands of the Free Lords; he was also one of its most notorious assassins. A deadly half-elven man with a reputation for being ruthless when paid, Razohr saw the value of an active Guild for Wizardry in Rookroost. When he became a member of the guild, the guild automatically got a degree of respect that the city's roguish types could understand and respect.
The Days of Elshore and Razohr are long gone, but Riziln, the head of the Guild of Wizardry and the Lord of letters, has led the guild for fifty years. Riziln has taken painful steps to ensure that the Guild of Wizardry remains neutral and above the everyday struggle that is life in Rookroost. The conquest of the city by Mortoth and the Great Old One's minions has tested this stance. Riziln was unsure if they would throw in with the city to defend it, or simply pick up and leave for other less volatile lands. Fortunately, they never had to make such a choice as the city agreed to sign a peace treaty. The peace treaty allowed her to begin making plans for a possible future departure if necessary.
Rizlin has been pleased with Mortoth's changes, and the two have a mutually beneficial relationship, much to the chagrin of Elara and the Congress. Riziln has taken all of these possibilities into consideration, and while she has not given her complete backing to Mortoth, she has allied with him in keeping the city safe.
The goal of the Guild of Wizardry is to become a place where practitioners of the arcane arts can gather and conduct their experiments and studies unhindered. Necromancy, mind control, and a list of other magics frowned upon in other lands are considered just different magic forms to be learned and studied at the guild. Wizards who desire this type of freedom, and camaraderie, still move to Rookroost to conduct their studies.
The Guild of Wizardry sells their spells to those who can afford them and are in good standings with them. Like most things in Rookroost, you need to be a guilded citizen for a request for a spell even to be entertained, and even then, there is no guarantee that you'll be able to purchase one.
*NOTE: Spells above level 4 can be acquired, but there are no set rates or prices. Spells of higher than 4th level need to be negotiated if allowed at all. The Lord of Letters having the last word on these transactions.