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.