In this 14th installment for the City of Rookroost we take a look at the second installment of People of Interest. Once again thanks to everyone that have given me inspiration from Nigel Findley, Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Frederick Weining, Casey Brown, and all the fabulous BK authors and lastly Gygax himself.
Arnol Marsh: (Leader of the Furyondian Rebels) Arnol is a middle-aged man still in his prime, and his posture and demeanor speak volumes even when he is not saying a word. Being a man of few words, when Arnol does speak, he is direct and to the point. Despite his imposing nature Arnol is of average size and height. His greying hair is thin, and his hard face has several small scars from a lifetime as a paladin of Trithereon. His armor and weapons are of good quality but not flashy or flamboyant, and he looks every bit the mercenary he claims to be.
Arnol has been leading the Furyondian rebels in Rookroost for three years. During that time, he has been able to hamper that city's ability to supply goods and resources to the Great Old One empire, but only minimally as he refuses to waste his men on plans that do not have a high chance of success. Arnol realizes that he can do far more good in the long run if he fights a battle of attrition. He waits for the day when the cold war turns hot once again.
Arnol dislikes what Rookroost stands for and hates his time here but knows it is for the greater good. Even though he hates Rookroost, he hates Iuz and his empire even more, and the knowledge that they continue to fight against him is what allows him to carry on.
In the city, Arnol is known as a mercenary, and he is a member of the Mercenaries and Sell-swords guild. While he and his cell make plots against the minions of Iuz they also work in the city, usually as guards arranged by the Mercenaries and Sell-swords Guild.
Arnol currently has a group of half a dozen men and women under his command. Despite his cell members' insistence, he refuses to recruit or use locals, seeing it as too much of a security risk.
Arnol does not lie, ever, but he will not be forced into divulging information either. He will simply refuse to answer a question or respond with information that means nothing to the question. Grumbling under his breath is a favorite answer when he can think of nothing better to say.
Tips on Running Arnol: It is possible that the characters have been sent to Rookroost to help Arnol, but only if the party is not full of loose cannons and can be trusted. Even if that is the case, Arnol will be reluctant to use them for significant assignments until they have won his trust, which comes slowly. Arnol is cautious and always keeps a stone of masking on his person to hide his paladinhood. Arnol will never reveal that hs is a Furondian agent unless a character has documentation of some sort that he can verify. If the characters are sent to work with Arnol, he would have already received word before they arrive in the city and will be watching for them, but he will never approach them.
Beanor Borralis: (Leader of the Shield Land Rebels) Beanor is the rebels' flamboyant and dangerous leader from the Shield Lands in Rookroost. Beanor is young, handsome, and quick-witted. Before the war, he was a squire but quickly proved his mettle and became a knight. Physically Beanor appears to be torn from a storybook of heroes with his athletic build, winning smile, and chiseled good looks, but he is rash and impatient. It is believed that these qualities are why he was given the assignment in Rookroost, so they could get rid of him and still possibly have him do some good.
Beanor is by far luckier than competent, and many feel that he must be blessed by Rudd herself. Beanor has been in many situations that seemed utterly hopeless and has prevailed with only scratches. He is lucky in battle and with everyday encounters, be it barely missing an enemy patrol, or stumbling onto a crate of flame pots when storming an enemy fortress guarded by trolls. Beanor himself believes that he is destined for greatness, what this greatness is he has no clue, but greatness none the less. The fact that he is not pious enough to be blessed with a paladin's abilities does not even phase the man as he simply states that he is gifted in other ways.
Since arriving in Rookroost, Beanor's luck has held out as his raids and sabotage are daring and often foolish, but he still remains uncaptured. He has eluded assassins and the best efforts of the Talons to find him and capture him. His reputation has grown to the point that Mortoth himself has noticed and wants him and has assigned a special unit of his Red Guards to the task. The few men he brought with him and those few who were already in place when he arrived have mostly died. Now he gathers there replacements from among the disenfranchised of Outwall. Everyone feels that it is only a matter of time before he legendary luck runs out and is killed, but so far, he has eluded them all for over a year.
Tips on Running Beanor: Beanor is dashing, gallant, and jolly at the worst of times. At the best of times, he might be considered insufferable because of his positive attitude. If approached, he will gladly accept the adventurers to his banner, and to prove their loyalty, he will have them conduct a raid of some sort, a raid that he will gladly join. Beanor rarely thinks things through, but when flaws in his plans are pointed out, he's willing to change it even on the fly if he thinks its better. Beanor truly does think he's untouchable, and characters should witness this firsthand, but whether it's true or not remains to be seen. Beanor's superiors in the Shield Lands are as stunned by the man's inability to die as everyone else is. They have recently been sending some more assistance his way as they can not deny that he is producing results. Beanor does not like to sit idle and is constantly hatching one scheme to hamper the troops and attempt to disrupt the tribute shipped out of the city to Iuz, a feat he has yet to accomplish.
Beltran (Owner the Black Swan): A place like the Black Swan has existed in one form or another since before Rookroost was a city. The owners of those past taverns and alehouses were mean and tough, but none have been as mean and tough as Beltran. Before taking over the Black Swan Inn, Beltran had a fierce reputation as one of the most notorious marauders to raid into the neighboring kingdoms. His reputation became so great that the bounties on him were so high that even his fellow bandits were eyeing him for the reward. Knowing he had to lay low for a while to let things cool off, he set down roots in Rookroost and took over the Black Swan Inn after killing the original owner.
Beltran is a big, burly, and mean half-orc with plenty of scars and a short temper. Fortunately, he doesn't run the inn but is just a go-between for those looking to outfit marauding bands and those looking for jobs.
Since Beltran has owned the Black Swan, he has had plenty of fun, but he's been getting the itch to go raiding once again, but he doesn't trust anyone to watch his tavern while he's gone. He can't leave Gevin behind because he's his right-hand man, and too stupid to do it.
Tips on Running Beltran: Beltran is a brute and used to getting what he wants through intimidation and violence. Despite his tendency towards violence, Beltran is not stupid, and he knows when to try and keep his bravado and temper in check, but he struggles with it.
Berda Brae: (Brae Clan Elder) Since the Brae Clan set up shop in Rookroost, there have been three different heads of the family. Commonly referred to as either a matriarch or patriarch. The clan is divided into smaller groups called families, and these families have their own power structure and each led by a family elder. The collection of all the elders is simply called the heads of the family, and amongst them, they elect one overall elder that leads the whole clan. The current Brae Family elder is Berda Brae.
And older halfling, Berda was never one for padding across rooftops or second-story work. She was only a passable cutpurse, and her lock picking skills were adequate at best. However, where she did excel was in the planning, and it was because of this, she was able to make her way to the top elder position in the Brae clan.
Soft-spoken and polite, many people have mistakenly thought that they could intimidate her. A mistake that few live to regret. Berda is ruthless, cunning, and highly intelligent. She has worked hard to maintain the clan's independence from the Congress while at the same time making them invaluable to Elara. The clan means everything to her, and if necessary to ensure it's survival, she will say and do anything.
Tips on Running Berda: It's unlikely that a party of adventurers will ever meet Berda, unless one of them is a halfling and high level. While the Brae's try to keep track of any halfling coming into the city, if any with a reputation comes to Rookroost, they are often invited to meet Berda. This meeting is for Berda to feel out the character and see why they are in the city and see if they might work together in the future. She is rarely alone and usually is accompanied by three to four bodyguards.
Cedric Valest: (Mercenaries and Sell-Swords Guild Master) Cedric is a man of many talents and has served in several other organizations and guilds in Rookroost. He was a Talon for a short period of time, served in the now-defunct Rookroost army, and has been a guard and on the payroll for the Merchant's League and the Lord of Brick. Eventually, he settled in as a member of the Mercenaries and Sell-Swords guild and soon found himself rising up the ranks quickly until he became head of the guild. Cedric is not the best swordsman, but he is smart and knows when opportunity knocks and how to take advantage of situations, a skill that has served him and his guild well.
Cedric is a middle-aged man with thinning hair and a pudgy midsection. He has not taken an active contract himself in several years, and rumors are running wild within the guild that those interested in taking his place are jockeying for the position. It is also a well-known fact that Cedric has little faith in most of the guild's high ranking members to be able to run it competently. There are even rumors that Cedric is looking at possibilities outside of the guild for a successor.
Tips on Running Cedric: Cedric is always looking for recruits to bring into the fold of his guild, but now that he is looking to retire, he is taking closer looks at the adventurers that pass through Rookroost. Cedric is no fool, and even has the ear of Mortoth and will not think twice about reporting anyone that he feels is a threat to the tumultuous peace in the city. Cedric often will solicit those he sees on the street that he thinks could be an excellent addition to the guild, but he also believes that everyone needs to work their way up the ladder as he did. The Mercenaries and Sell-swords guild is a great way for characters to get work in the city, leading to adventure hooks for later. Members of the guild are offered contracts on how well they perform their duties, but if the characters are busy with other endeavors, they can turn down the contracts. But turning down too many contracts will lead to less work being offered.
Chief Rugga: (Kobold Tribe Chief) The current chief of the Red Scale tribe, the kobolds who have been in charge of the Rookroost sewers, hasn't been chief for long. Rugga is large for a kobold, which isn't saying much, but it was enough for him to bully his way into becoming chief. Never one for hard work, he leaves the running of the sewers to his subordinates and only makes an appearance when dealing with the topsiders is called for.
The kobolds take great pride in their work and have kept the undercity and sewers in check and clean. They report anything out of the ordinary immediately to the Lord of Brick's office. The odd monster and infestation of the undercity are usually handled by hired adventurers. Still, their constant competition with the ratlings has traditionally been their responsibility. Nevertheless, under Rugga's control, the kobolds have lost ground to them, and he has had to go to the Lord of Bricks requesting help several times now since he has been in control. Usually, the monsters that turn up in the undercity are found in the main passages or sewer tunnels, which are accessible for adventurers to get at. However, the ratlings use smaller tunnels, limiting those who can fight properly in them other than halflings and gnomes.
Tips on Running Rugga: Rugga will only be encountered in and around the sewers or the sewer works in the Inner-City. If adventurers do meet Rugga he will try to hire them into helping with his ratling problem. He will make promises of letting them keep whatever they find, but if this isn't enough, he will offer a bounty of 2gp per ratling tail that is brought to him.
Bertrum Glitterstone: ( Owner of the Crystal Palace Inn and Tavern) The first impression most have when meeting the strikingly handsome and lavishly dressed Bertrum is that he is out of place in Rookroost. Rumors abound that Bertrum is actually royalty from the Flinty Hills that fled to Rookroost to escape a murder to treason charge. If there is any truth to these rumors, Bertrum won't say. The truth is that he took over an old guildhall in the Peak and turned it into the most decadent place in the city some five years ago after appearing from out of nowhere with a lot of coin to spend establishing his new life in Rookroost.
Bertrum is approaching middle-age for a gnome, but has not lost a step and is often said to be blessed with the grace of an elf. He is always elegantly dressed and never travels outside of the Peak if it can be avoided. The truth of Bertrum's past is that he was a member of a thieves guild somewhere outside the lands of the Bandit Kingdoms, and his fortune was made at the expense of others and he has powerful enemies abroad. To counter this, Bertrum has made it a point to become an associate and friend of Elara Mornstar. The two are spotted often at the Crystal Palace dining or having drinks and chatting.
Tips on Running Bertrum: Bertrum welcomes all new customers warmly, provided they fit the requirements to stay or eat at the Crystal Palace. He does not allow roughhousing, overly loud, or boisterous conversations, and customers must be adequately dressed. Wearing armor is frowned upon, but can be overlooked depending on the guest. Bertrum hires only the best guards that don't mind wearing the house uniform while on duty, but there is rarely an opening as it is a highly sought after job. Adventurers might know about Bertrum's past, which would mean that they know where he is from and his real name. Those who would attempt to use this information to blackmail him would soon find the Congress looking for them.
Graxton Battlemaster: (Head Battlemaster of the temple of Hextor) The war god Hextor is worshiped by warriors, especially warriors that lust for the thrill of combat and overcoming their foes, Rookroost, and the lands of the Free Lords, has more than their fair share. Second, only to the priests of Hextor are the battlemasters. Battlemasters are teachers of tactics and martial skills, and the Battlemaster of the temple of Hextor in Rookroost is Graxton.
Graxton lives for the fight, and when he is not training warriors at the temple, he can be found in the field, fighting in any skirmish, battle, or combat that he can find. Graxton, much like the church, does not choose just one side; they choose the side where they can most likely see combat. The destruction of the main temple of Hextor in the heartlands and the complete disregard for the edicts of combat has left a bitter taste in Graxton's mouth. The forces of Iuz have become his enemies, and he has sworn to see them pushed back to their own lands. Graxton was dismayed when Rookroost signed the peace treaty with Iuz and would have left if the head priest at the temple in Rookroost had not ordered him to stay. Despite his hatred for Iuz, Graxton has a begrudging respect for Mortoth and his Red Guard.
Graxton is a large man and tall with a long reach. He carries a wide array of weapons and wears highly stylized full plate armor. He is trained in the use of bows, and they serve a purpose, but he prefers to be up close and will take the opportunity to close ranks whenever he can to fight in melee. While he has a passion for the fight, he is not stupid and knows tactics and mastery of them. He will not rush a group if it will leave his flank exposed but will attempt to lure his enemies closer. Graxton has a very dry personality and only seems to have a passion for war and combat.
Tips on Running Graxton: Graxton's no-nonsense attitude does not make him a likely source for interaction as he does not frequent taverns or spends time wandering the streets, enjoying other forms of leisure. If a character wishes to train, they can do so at the temple for a fee, but he is not available for hire and does not partake in subterfuge acts. If some of the characters are worshipers of Hextor they could run into him at the temple where he would be training, reading about war, or inspecting and improving the temple's defenses.
Gunseli, or The Spider: (Chief Assassin) Those of the assassin’s guild take painful steps to make sure that their identities are not well known. Popularity works contrary to an assassin’s goal of moving about the city unknown and unobserved. The Assassin’s Guild's chief assassin has two names, neither of which are connected to a dependable description of what she looks like. There have been sightings of Gunseli, on those rare occasions where the assassin meets with his employers, but all those reports are contrary to one another and lead many to believe that these are simply stand-ins playing the part of the real assassin. No one knows if Gunseli is human, elf, dwarf, or some other race, male or female. Many theorize that Gunseli is a Drow because of her love of using spider poison, and thusly she must be a female Drow. This, too, is just conjecture surrounding the mystery of Gunsseli. The guild officials are just as in the dark as everyone else as they work with the assassin through intermediaries. Gunseli, poisons food and drink, will use contact poison on doors and items that the assassin knows that her victim will pick up and use, and her weapons are all poisoned weapons.
On the streets, Gunseli is more commonly known as the Spider since the assassins preferred method is through spider poison. Poison is a prevalent method of disposing of adversaries in Rookroost. Because of this, many countermeasures have been devised to combat it, but Gunseli does not use common poisons but only rarest and hardest to find poisons. Many of these have been studied by Wizards from the School of Wizardry and have been determined to originate from the Underdark. Many have tried to find the assassin by tracking the import of such rare ingredients, but none of the rare ingredients have been found entering the city.
Tips on Running Gunseli: Gunseli is like the boogie-man of Rookroost. Despite many efforts by a good many competent people, the assassin still remains an enigma, which has turned Gunseli into a favorite for conspiracy theorists. The assassin’s fees are double the going rate and she has yet to leave a contract unfulfilled. Gunseli is also no fool and has turned down contracts to kill the council Lords and the General in the past. This handful of people seem to be the only ones safe from her, and only so long as they are in office as she has killed several former council Lords. It should also be impressed upon adventures that angering the Rookroost elite could cause Gunseli to be hired to take care of them.