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Citizens of Specularumby Giampaolo Agosta from Threshold Magazine issue 21
This article describes many Non-Player Characters that may help bring Specularum alive in a campaign based in the city. Each character has a full description, including hooks for the Dungeon Master to use to guide their interaction with the Player Characters. Except for the Classic D&D statistics, the entire article is very rules-light and can be used with any edition of D&D – or any other Role Playing Game, actually. These Non-Player Characters were designed to complement the excellent “Specularum Series Adventures” by “Ville Lähde” that can be found in The Vaults of Pandius.
Giampaolo’s excellent and intriguing capsule biographies of this array of Non Player Characters that might be encountered in Specularum have been enhanced by the artwork of Justin Pfiel. Check out Justin’s web comic “The Keep on the Borderlands”
Alasiyan Fighter 9, Lawful
STR 14, INT 11, WIS 7, DEX 12, CON 10, CHA 13
Scimitar (Expert), dagger (Skilled), short bow, light lance
Riding (14), Survival (Desert, 11), Leadership (13)
Alasiyan (native), Thyatian (11)
Al-Azrad is a man of contradictions: a follower of the Kin coming from a barely religious family; a nomad who has lived in Specularum for years; a man who openly professes lawfulness, but whose actual sources of income are criminal activities.
Ahmad's father, Ashem, is a member of the Al- Azrad Darokinian merchant house who has been working as a caravan leader on the trade route from Jaboor to Selenica. Ashem married into an Alasiyan nomad clan, and Ahmad was mostly raised as a nomad. Ahmad, fascinated by the lifestyle of the desert nomads, despises his father’s relatives and in general all hazar people. He did not join the merchant house, but chose to join his mother’s tribe. Later, he converted to the Kin faction of the Eternal Truth, thus deepening the rift with the Al- Azrad family, which openly supports the Preceptors.
Four years ago, Ahmad arrived in the city of Specularum with a caravan he was escorting, and was appalled to see that the hazar were giving a hideous reputation to the Ylari, making them appear to others as drugged, pleasure-seeking aesthetes. Thus, he vowed he would show the infidels the true face of the Alasiyans and the Eternal Truth, and established a bivouac in the ruins of a corrupt hazar merchant's house (after reducing it to ruins, of course).
Drawing from his original companions and other Alasiyan caravan guards, he has collected a court of 24 nomad warriors, who have named themselves the “Swords of Kalim” (Seif el Kalim). They live by exacting protection money from the inhabitants of the southern and eastern blocks of the Ylari district of the Foreign Quarter – an area prevalently inhabited by Alasiyans of nomad origins dwelling in tents, pavilions and other semi-permanent structures. The population of the area varies widely with the season – dropping low in winter and swelling in summer – but the ascetic lifestyle of the Swords allows them to survive on limited funds. Ahmad Al-Azrad does not see this activity as criminal, since he does not take money forcibly from “true believers” (though he reserves the right to judge who is a true believer and who is not).
Al-Azrad is a tall man with dark, deep-set eyes and a cruel voice. He likes to keep long uncomfortable silences to reveal the true nature of the people he is dealing with. He is a strong fighter, skilled in the use of scimitar and dagger. He sometimes wields a weapon in each hand in combat, especially when faced with multiple opponents. His prized weapon is Rish Al’Anqah (Plume of the Phoenix), a +2 scimitar, flames on command.
As noted above, Ahmad Al-Azrad is a man of contradictions – but he does not like to be reminded of any of them. Bringing up his hazar background or pointing out that what he does is extortion is likely to bring forth swift retribution. Al-Azrad will often force such challengers into a duel to the death to prove their point – and he has yet to be bested in single combat.
Guildmaster Ioan Azuros
Thief 3, Neutral
STR 8, INT 14, WIS 13, DEX 11, CON 9, CHA 13
Skilled: Dagger; Basic: Longsword.
Profession (Banker) 14, Knowledge of the society of Specularum 14, Code of Law 13, Riding (Horse) 11, History (Traladara) 14.
Traladaran (Native), Thyatian 14.
A member of one of the most ancient of the mercantile trade dynasties within the city of Specularum, Ioan Azuros has been at the centre of the city’s political life since Duke Stefan founded the Grand Duchy.
One of the few survivors of the failed coup against Duke Stefan, Azuros immediately understood that another such failed attempt would spell the end of the Traladaran aristocracy, like the first one had all but destroyed the Marilenev clan and most of their allies. Thus, Azuros, who had managed to cover all of the traces leading to his participation in the failed coup, sided with the Torenescu, as the strongest Traladaran family remaining. He cemented this relationship by marrying off his sister to the leader of that house, Christoph Torenescu.
In time, Azuros took control of the family moneylending business, financing a number of successful enterprises, which included the construction of Tarn Keep near Threshold. With the support of the Torenescu, Ioan managed to climb to the position of Warden within the Moneychangers’ Guild, and, in 993 AC, he successfully ran for the position of Guildmaster. He was confirmed Guildmaster in the 997 AC elections, and, leveraging a stronger Torenescu majority in the Guild Council (both Aleksandr and Boris Torenescu are Wardens, as is Ioan’s brother-in-law on his wife’s side), has been investing a lot of money in supporting the Torenescu struggle against the Radu faction.
Ioan is currently the head of the Torenescu sub-faction that supports Aleksandr against his uncle – Ioan hopes to manipulate his nephew and become the true leader of the Torenescu faction. Unfortunately, his term as Guildmaster has seen the rise of Veiled Society aggressions against lesser guild members, so his position is not as strong as it could be, plus Aleksandr's ill health is quickly becoming a major concern for Ioan.
The Player Characters can meet Ioan in two ways: either they are major players in Specularum society, and then Ioan will be interested in acquiring their support (if they are not Thyatians) or at least their neutrality; or they are mercenaries – Ioan needs someone to put an end to the Veiled Society depredations against the Guild agents, and would much prefer to have the issue solved by his own agents than by the Guard Phorsis.
Brother Nicklaus Chebyshov
Traladaran Cleric 3, Lawful
STR 10 INT 16 WIS 13 DEX 12 CON 10 CHA 8
quarterstaff, 1 free slot
Reading/Writing (16), Mathematics (16), Religion (Church of Traladara, 13), Cryptography (16), Knowledge of Kruskievite Theology (13), Ceremony (St. Kruskiev)
Traladaran (native), Thyatian (16)
Brother Nicklaus is a monk of St. Kruskiev’s monastery, where he studies mathematics, cryptography, and Kruskiev’s theology – a series of obscure writings by the ancient Traladaran saint. The interpretation of these writings has occupied much of Nicklaus’ life, forever altering his world view and interpersonal relations.
Nicklaus is of average height, but lack of physical activity and haphazard meals have left him almost emaciated. His gaunt face is dominated by a large mouth. Nicklaus shaves regularly, but has a permanent bluish cast to his skin due to rapid re-growth of hair – which is also the reason of his usually messy haircut. He dresses in a Traladaran cleric’s formal robes, though usually choosing robes too short or too wide for his frame.
When spoken to, Brother Nicklaus appears to be a very odd person – he speaks very fast, almost a torrent of words spewing forth from his mouth. Whatever the subject he is talking about, he manages to fall into an endless series of digressions on a variety of totally unrelated, esoteric mathematical topics, confusing all but the most intelligent and knowledgeable interlocutor. Moreover, he has the disturbing habit of completing the sentences of others, usually agreeing with any statement, and then starting one of his ramblings.
Nicklaus comes from a well-to-do farming family in Vandevicsny, but rarely leaves Specularum or even St. Kruskiev’s anymore. When he does, he insists on choosing the cheapest accommodations – apparently, sleeping in common rooms or bunks gives him a sense of adventure. He does visit the Shrine of the Eternal Truth in the Foreign Quarter once or twice per year, usually in summer, as he enjoys speaking with the wise men there – the feeling is not exactly reciprocated, but each of the four Alasiyans is firmly convinced it should be one of the others to make it clear that fewer visits would be much better.
Note that, while Brother Nicklaus may appear (and should be presented as) a raving (and somewhat sinister) madman, he is truly skilled in his field, and there is nothing sinister about him. The appearance is only due to his lack of social skills. Persistent (and patient) player characters may gain important knowledge (such as deciphering maps or secret messages, or obtaining hints to the nature of Patriarch Sergyev’s heresy) from long sessions of discussion with Nicklaus.
General Diomedes Draconius
Fighter 10, Neutral
STR 14, INT 11, WIS 13, DEX 10, CON 12, CHA 15
Expert: Longsword; Skilled: Pike; Basic: Dagger, Lance.
Military Tactics (11), Leadership (15), Riding (Horse), Geography of Western Karameikos (11).
Thyatian (native), Traladaran (11).
A short man with thinning dark hair and a hawkish nose, Diomedes is one of the members of the lesser Thyatian aristocracy who answered Stefan’s call for the colonization of Traladara. While not related directly to the Karameikos family, Diomedes’ family is related to Lord Alexius Korrigan – Diomedes’ cousin Mildred married one of the Korrigan brothers.
An infantry tribune with a limited but successful experience in Emperor Thincol’s re-conquest of the Isle of Dawn, Draconius was put in charge of one of the new units of Stefan’s army, a light infantry force – Desmond Kelvin was in command of the cavalry, Hyraksos of the navy, and finally Arcturus Penhaligon commanded the Duke’s Guard, a heavy infantry unit. After the initial victorious campaign against the Marilenev Rebellion and the goblinoids in northern Traladara, Kelvin and Penhaligon received their own fiefs, Hyraksos was promoted to the rank of Admiral and Minister of War. Draconius was put in charge of the Western division of the army, with the rank of General. Draconius did not like this – he thought he deserved at least as much recognition as Kelvin and Penhaligon, who had had the opportunity to work with better equipped and trained units.
In the following years, Diomedes drove the improvement of the fortifications at Riverfork Keep first, and then the construction of Radlebb Keep. Initially sceptical about the need to build a fort in the middle of the Radlebb Woods, Draconius soon realized that the Radlebb Keep was key to the survival of the Karameikan control over western Traladara – without its presence, the sheer number of goblinoid tribes in the Southern Radlebb woods and the Cruth Lowlands, combined with Baron Von Hendricks’ obvious ambitions would have led to the loss of Riverfork Keep and the almost entire western part of Karameikos.
Nowadays, Diomedes Draconius spends most of his time in Specularum, lobbying for additional funds for the 4th Division, without much success. He pays a yearly visit to both forts under his supervision, usually in late spring.
Nowadays General Draconius is quite disillusioned about Duke Stefan’s ability in judging people and, more in general, in governing a nation. While he disliked the first Baron Kelvin, Diomedes is on good terms with the current Baron, a man who understands better than the Duke the need for a strong military. Diomedes is also one of the foremost opponents of the Black Eagle Baron at court. He is neutral towards the two other Barons, Vorloi and Halaran. He cooperates with the other members of the military, though he does not trust the Traladaran officers much, especially people like Captain Arkan Sulanov who fought in the Marilenev Rebellion.
The Player Characters can meet Diomedes if they enlist in the army – new recruits reach their posts in Riverfork or Radlebb when the General visits the fort. General Draconius tends to make quick judgments over people, so this first contact could be very important for their career – quick thinking and strong action in any unexpected encounter while on the route to the forts is going to put them on Draconius’ shortlist for promotion. Draconius is also experimenting with a new idea to extend the Karameikan control around Riverfork and Radlebb Keep – a unit of scouts acting as explorers and police force in the wildernesses around the two forts. Unfortunately, he does not have the funds for this project, so he is considering instead the possibility of letting the scouts keep part of smuggled or stolen goods they find as pay. If the PCs look like they could handle themselves well in the wilderness, he may propose this kind of deal.
Thyatian Magic User 7
STR 8 INT 15 WIS 13 DEX 10 CON 11 CHA 13
Reading/Writing 15), Thanatology (15), Knowledge of Karameikan Politics (15), Surgery (15), Etiquette (13)
Thyatian (native), Traladaran (15)
The magician Ergal is the official representative of Baron von Hendricks in Specularum. A powerful magician, by Karameikan standards, Ergal is not associated with Teldon’s guild, though he keeps cordial relations with several guild magicians – he says his political duties prevent him from associating with the guild, as this would lead to double loyalties. In truth, Ergal prefers to keep away from the guild to hide his skills as a necromancer.
Ergal maintains the image of a cultured, polite gentleman from Thyatis, with a penchant for imported wines and Thyatian fashion. He lives in a replica of a Thyatian domus, built in the Hill district, near the old city walls north-west of the Ambassadors’ Row. He attends court regularly, since the enemies of the Black Eagle often try to move the Duke to action by presenting evidence of slavery, violations of the Duke’s Law, and other crimes of the Baron. Ergal makes sure the evidence is never too clear, or averts Stefan’s suspicions about Ludwig with stalling tactics. He will generally admit that the Baron “is no saint”, but that his faults are personal and generally limited to bad taste in dress, an excessive degree of trust in his subordinates, and a lack of subtlety in communication (which he will try to present as a Karameikan virtue).
To weaken the accusations, Ergal employs a number of spies and agents that collect gossip and create false evidence to both discredit the Baron’s enemy and to let Duke Stefan and the public believe that other nobles are no better than Ludwig. Ergal then often advises the Duke to send impartial advisors to verify the accusations – knowing well that bribery and, in extreme cases, Bargle’s magic, will ensure they come back ready to relate that the Baron’s faults are largely exaggerated by his detractors.
Besides his official business, Ergal pursues his own research interests in thanatology and necromancy. He refrains from using human bodies for practical reasons – the risk is too high. He relies on contacts with the Iron Ring to provide him a supply of orcish slaves and corpses to experiment with. Ergal’s research focuses on necromantic healing, making him a competent, if unorthodox, physician. In addition to mundane surgery, Ergal has an array of necromantic spells that allow vital transfers, healing grievous injuries to one subject by draining life from another. Iron Ring agents sometimes use his services if they are wounded in Specularum, with no access to clerical healing.
Ergal is tall and bony, with a long face dominated by a high forehead and a strong, protruding chin. He has black hair greying at the temples, closely cropped in a fashionable Thyatian style.
Magic User 5, Lawful
STR 8, INT 15, WIS 9, DEX 11, CON 13, CHA 9
Basic: Staff, Dagger (one slot unspent)
Profession (Librarian) 15, Knowledge of the Magicians' Guild 15, Military Tactics 15, Knowledge of the Isle of Dawn 15
Thyatian (Native), Traladaran 15, Alphatian 15
A middle-aged and shrewd woman, Tullia Frinius is the receptionist at the library of the Magicians’ Guild in Specularum and a Journeyman in the Guild. While she has been a constant presence at the library since its opening to the public 25 years ago, and she has always been known as an acid-tongued bookworm, she hides a much more adventuresome past.
Tullia began her career at the Collegium Arcanum in Thyatis City, but she dropped out after three years, enrolling in the Imperial Army. A tough wizard-soldier, she served on the battlefields of the Isle of Dawn in a number of minor border conflicts, growing increasingly more disillusioned about the imperial politics. She left the army after an 8-year stint in 975 AC, and came back to Thyatis City, where she learned of Stefan Karameikos’ call for the colonization of Traladara. She was a bit late, but she got a ship to Specularum, and found Teldon there, who was just opening his Guild (at the time basically a one-man show) and library. She joined the staff, helping Teldon in raising the current crop of Karameikan wizards.
Player Characters will have to pass through Frinius to get to the library – they will find she does not like non-Guild members, and she does not much like other Guild members, with a few exceptions (Teldon and her fellow librarian). However, she is one of the few people in Specularum who can speak and read Alphatian, as well as being about the only source of first-hand knowledge on the Isle of Dawn.
Traladaran Thief 7, Neutral
STR 9 INT 13 WIS 11 DEX 13 CON 10 CHA 12
Short sword (skilled), dagger, short bow.
Bargain (12), Appraisal (13), Streetwise (13), Knowledge of the Halag region (13), Reading/Writing (13)
Traladaran (native), Thyatian (13)
Tucked in a quiet street just off the Hin residences, behind the Foreign Quarter market is Jerzy’s, a semi-legal pawnshop. The owner, old Jerzy Giorgios, is a Traladaran refugee from Halag. He is not affiliated to the Moneylenders’ Guild, which puts him in a precarious spot. The guild agents would close him down, had he not the protection of the Hin street gangs, and his non-affiliation allows him to profit from selling illegal or restricted items to buyers who value discretion.
One can buy weapons and armour from Jerzy, no questions asked, although the selection is limited. It varies according to the fortunes of the adventurers unlucky enough to be forced to pawn their own weaponry and armour, or lucky enough to retrieve enemies’ armour and weapons from the battlefield. Jerzy has sympathies for other refugees and the Traladaran resistance, and might give them a discount, but he will never give anything for free. Every transaction has to gain him something.
Jerzy arrived in Specularum a few years after the founding of the Grand Duchy, a former merchant ruined by the invasion of Halag. The Black Eagle’s men had confiscated most of his wealth, and killed several of his relatives. Jerzy barely escaped the Barony with his life. In Specularum, he was able to collect a few credits he had – though by far not all of them. Many debtors refused to acknowledge their debts since Jerzy could not produce the related documents, which had been lost in the arson of his Halag mansion. But with what he could collect, he set up a pawnshop, outside the city walls, in the then-rapidly growing Foreign Quarter. He has run the pawnshop since then, trying to provide some help to the Traladaran resistance without risking too much himself.
Jerzy Giorgios is over 60 years old, and looks even older, with wispy white hair, a wrinkled, leathery skin over a lean body. In his youth, he was an accomplished duellist with the short sword, and a good shot with the hunter’s bow. Even at this advanced age, he is able to defend himself thanks to a couple of magical items he has collected over time.
The first is a plain short sword +1, evidently of dwarven making. From the markings and the style of the blade, it appears to have been forged around the time of the Battle of Sardal Pass, and later brought to Traladara by dwarves of the Stronghollow clan. Jerzy had it from the only survivor of an adventuring party who had taken it from a fallen comrade. The unlucky adventurer fell into alcoholism after managing to return to Specularum, and pawned the sword to Jerzy, who took it for his own after the adventurer’s death. The runes on the blade identify it as “Radker”, or Irontooth in Dwarven.
The second is a magical dagger +1, which appears to be made entirely of copper, even though it is as hard as any steel blade. What no one (including Jerzy) knows is that the dagger is actually Finder, one of the lost relics of Traladaran hero Alexei Stormeyes. Jerzy received this item from another Halag man who tried to escape with him. Wounded and unable to further elude pursue, the man would rather leave his dagger to Jerzy than have it fall into the hands of the Baron. Jerzy always wear this dagger on his person.
Annius Helianthus / don Nini the Wonder
Thyatian Thief 9, Neutral
STR 7, INT 14, WIS 13, DEX 13, CON 9, CHA 15
Dagger (master), Blackjack
Streetwise (15), Leadership (15), Disguise (14), Knowledge of Specularum Underground (14), Reading/Writing (14)
Thyatian (native), Traladaran (14), Minrothaddan patois (14)
Annius Helianthus was born in the city of Lucinius in AC 927. By the time he was 17, he had become a promising burglar. After spending a few years in prison for a burglary at the expense of a powerful senator, he was deported to Specularum, with prohibition to leave the city under pain of death.
Annius quickly adapted to the town – being Thyatian, he was barely tolerated by the local underground, but he avoided stealing from people under the protection of the Veiled Society, and kept away from the Nest. His legendary skill with the dagger helped keep him safe into old age. In time, Annius trained several promising burglars, both Thyatian and Traladaran, forming a small gang that was, in many ways, a precursor of the Kingdom of Thieves (as the boss, he took the Thyatian honorific of “don”). He also gained the nickname of “the Wonder” for his thieving skill and his finesse in avoiding capture and traps without resorting to violence.
However, after the arrival of Duke Stefan, the Veiled Society took advantage of the chaos to strike blows against its rivals, killing, maiming or driving away most members of Annius’ gang. Annius fought back as much as he could, but independent thieves were too frightened to band with him. In 974 AC, tired of being hunted by the Veiled Society, Annius planned and executed a major heist to the vaults of the Moneylenders’ Guild, hoping to retire on some Ierendi island with enough money to support him for life. Even without help in preparing and executing the robbery, “don Nini” managed to steal 100,000 royals from the coffers of the Guild. He was captured by the Guard Phorsis as he was trying to leave Specularum by boat. Some say the Guard was tipped off by Veiled Society affiliates who hoped to use the force to cage their enemy. He had so many crimes to answer for (but not even one murder, except for some justified spontaneous murders of Veiled Society assassins, which anyway could hardly be proved) that the judges gave him a 30 year jail sentence – the maximum jail time allowed by Karameikan law. The Guard also made an attempt to recover the stolen money – but magical investigation by Master Teldon himself proved that “don Nini” had somehow thoroughly erased all memory of the place where he had hidden it.
“Don Nini” was at first locked up in the City Jail, but since the cells there are designed to hold many prisoners, and Veiled Society affiliates attempted three times (with lethal consequences for them) to murder him, the authorities decided to permanently remove “don Nini” to the Hightower, where he currently resides, serving the last few years of his sentence. Mages from the Guild have regularly attempted ESP spells on him, hoping for the return of the erased memory, but with no success. In time, Annius Helianthus became a sort of hero of the independent thieves, and later of the Kingdom of Thieves, who consider him an honorary Prince. These characters often bribe the guards at the Hightower to let them speak with “don Nini”, who manages to keep informed of what passes in the Specularum underground and is often able to provide good advice on burglary. Also, independent thieves sometimes defer to him to decide disputes among them.
“Don Nini” is a pale, skinny Thyatian with a long, crooked nose (badly broken when he was captured the first time in Lucinius) and thin gravy hair. In spite of his prolonged imprisonment, “don Nini” is surprisingly well groomed and dresses in stylish (if outmoded and rather old) clothes of Thyatian cut.
This character can be used to provide hints to members of the Kingdom of Thieves or to independent rogues, as well as an instructor in the use of the dagger.
Lord Devon Hyraksos
Fighter 5, Lawful
STR 16, INT 13, WIS 10, DEX 12, CON 18, CHA 15
Skilled: Long sword; Basic: Dagger, Light Crossbow, Cutlass/Sabre
Endurance 18, Navigation 13, Profession (Sailor) 13, Etiquette 15
Thyatian (native), Traladaran (13), Minrothad patois (13).
Born in 977 AC, Devon is the only son of Admiral Lucius Hyraksos, the Minister of War, and his Traladaran wife Katerina Gaddis. During the years of his Shearing, Devon enrolled as a sailor on a Minrothad merchantman. Then, he spent a few years adventuring in Karameikos.
During this time in the Grand Duchy, he met a fellow adventuress, whom he later discovered to be Lady Adriana Karameikos, the Duke’s daughter – he had left the court in 991 AC, when Adriana was only 11, and met her again only in 997 AC, when he hired her as an henchwoman (something that he his fairly embarrassed of now).
Last year, he came back to Specularum at the Admiral’s request to take a commission as an Ensign in the Karameikan Navy. Since the post allows him to practice both his sailing and fighting skills, Devon finds it a perfect fit, and plans to pursue the naval officer career just like his father, whom he idolizes. Devon is one of the Grand Duchy’s toughest warriors, though his courtly education may lead people to underestimate him.
Player Characters can meet Devon at court or in the Navy, especially if they enrol. Since he will end up marrying Adriana Karameikos, he can be a powerful friend and patron, or, if the characters harbour ambitions to the throne, their primary opponent.
Traladaran Fighter 3, Lawful
STR 17, INT 8, WIS 12, DEX 11, CON 14, CHA 10
Battle axe, Long sword, Bastard sword, Hand axe
Muscle (17), Endurance (14), Intimidation (17), Bravery (12)
Janek’s memories begin three months ago, on a beach along the lower course of the Volaga river, just south of Krakatos. He was found there, with no equipment besides minimal clothing, by the yearly gnome caravan. The gnomes nursed him back to health and dropped him in Specularum, even giving him some money to cover his living expenses while he looked for a job. He was promptly beset by a pair of Thyatian con artists, who would have robbed him blind were they not exposed by the intervention of a street urchin, Emilia Leonov. The two scoundrels turned on Emilia, and would have dispatched her if Janek had not clubbed both of them into unconsciousness with his bare hands. Emilia decided that Janek needed her help to survive – though Janek thinks it’s exactly the opposite – and the two have been working together for some months now.
Due to his loss of memory – possibly the result of some spooky encounter in the ghost city of Krakatos – Janek knows very little about himself, except for his name, the fact that he is Traladaran, and that he is extremely strong and a good fighter with swords and axes. Janek is very tall and bulky for a Traladaran, with the typical pale complexion and straight, brown hair of the Traladarans. He looks in his mid- twenties. A rampant bear is tattooed on Janek’s left shoulder, and he has several scars, apparently from slashing weapon hits, on his chest.
Janek’s primary function is body-guarding (and otherwise keeping safe) Emilia Leonov. He is also on the lookout for any information that can help him discover his actual identity and reconstruct his past.
Goldenmouth of clan Torkrest
Rockborn Dwarf 6, Lawful
STR 14 INT 11 WIS 12 DEX 8 CON 17 CHA 13
Battle axe (skilled)
Military Tactics (11), Survival (Desert, Mountains; 11)
Dwarven (native), Thyatian (11), Alasiyan (11)
A seasoned veteran from the army of Rockhome, the dwarf Kartak, is one of the most ill-tempered men in the whole of Specularum.
Kartak and his dwarven gangsters drink hard and play hard, and have no qualms about breaking a few heads when provoked. They are not involved in too many brawls only because other inhabitants of the Foreign Quarters have learned to avoid them. However, beyond his bad temper, Kartak is as loyal and hardworking as any dwarf – though he fails to include in the list of his loyalties the codes of law of any country beyond Rockhome. In fact, Kartak considers his gang as the enforcer of Rockhome law in this city of humans.
Kartak and his friends thrive by selling hallucinatory mushroom moonshine (which is to dwarves what a strong spirit is to humans, but is very dangerous and addictive to members of races with lesser fortitude) and protect the local dwarves at no cost. Currently they are also protecting Narim’s gang, as Kartak likes city-dwelling Ylari. Kartak hates Ahmad Al-Azrad, as he considers him a hypocritical, utterly boring religious fanatic who would not know a good party even if he was tied to a chair and forced to have a good time. But there is no harm in trying...
Kartak’s body is crisscrossed with the scars of dozens of battles. After being tossed out of the dwarven army for venting one of his legendary fits of temper on a superior officer, Kartak made a trade of guarding caravans on the Alasiyan trade routes. Year after year, his reputation, both ill and good, increased, so in the end only those merchants who travelled the most dangerous routes considered him for employment. Years out in the deserts have left his bald pate as tanned as his face. Kartak wears his beard and hair long, each collected in a single braid.
Kartak's voice has been scarred by decades of a nasty habit he picked in Ylaruam: he drinks dwarven moonshine by mixing it with some hot cooking oil simmered in hot chili peppers. Once one has heard Kartak speak, he won't ever mistake his voice for that of any other dwarf!
New Karameikan Thief 2, Neutral
STR 7, INT 13, WIS 8, DEX 15, CON 12, CHA 13
Dagger (Basic), 1 open slot
Streetwise (13), City Knowledge: Specularum (13), Knowledge of the underground (13), 1 open slot
Thyatian (native), Traladaran (13)
A girl of about 15 years of age, Emilia is one of the few New Karameikans to have a Traladaran father and Thyatian mother.
Unfortunately, she was orphaned early in her life, leaving her alone with her older brother, Sextus, who tried to take care of her.
While Sextus was a caring brother, he was rather unprincipled, and fell in with the Veiled Society, which was looking to hire some Thyatian (or half- Thyatian) goons to divert the blame of its many crimes from the Traladaran population. Thus, Sextus enjoyed a brief time of relative wealth, followed soon by prosecution by the law. As an associate to an organized crime gang, he was refused the opportunity to convert his sentence into military service, and was sent to the Ierendian prison on Aloysius Island – a pilot project to remove mobsters from their local environment.
Emilia was left to fend for herself, and became a pickpocket and petty thief. Always at risk of being caught by Veiled Society members or beggars – neither of which appreciate independent competition, Emilia quickly sharpened her thieving skills and streetwise sense. Her headstrong attitude, though, caused her many problems, until she “rescued” a surprisingly naive Traladaran young man, Janek, from a pair of Thyatian con artists. Emilia decided that Janek needed her help to navigate the streets of Specularum, and has stuck with him for the last three months.
Emilia is short and wiry, with close-cropped, dark, curly hair and a pointed nose. She has a sharp tongue and a tough attitude – even though she is quite good natured. If the PCs can deal with her attitude, she is a reliable source of information on the various gangs of the Specularum underworld.
Thyatian Fighter 6, Lawful
STR 13, INT 13, WIS 11, DEX 9, CON 12, CHA 14
Long sword (skilled), dagger, light crossbow, short sword
Navigation (13), Sailor (13), Knowledge of the Sea of Dread (13), Signalling (13), Reading & Writing (13)
Thyatian (native), Minrothaddan patois (13)
Protagoras Longinus is a sailor at heart – he rarely spends more than a week on land during the sailing season. He owns his own ship, a small galley, which he uses in a variety of trades: most often, he ferries small but valuable cargo between the islands of Dread and Specularum, though he also carries passengers (particularly envoys from Karameikos who need a fast ship to Ierendi or Minrothad) and he even engages in privateering.
His crew is a varied bunch, though most of the sailors and rowers are Karameikan of Thyatian descents – many of them small time adventurers who prefer to stick with a larger group and share the risks and gains of sea adventures. This is mostly because crewmen are paid only small salaries, but are allowed to bring their own goods for trade, allowing them a larger gain (as well as increased risks) than on other ships.
Protagoras and his men usually spend the winter in Specularum, drinking off the gains of the shipping season. When in Specularum, Protagoras lives in the North End, near the bay, with his wife, a terrible shrew. To avoid quarrelling with her, he spends most of his time at the Grog Shoppe. Since he has a lot of time and little to do with it, he enjoys chatting with other patrons, swapping tall tales of their maritime exploits. Since Protagoras has an extensive knowledge of the Sea of Dread ports and excellent maps, he can be a valuable source of information, or the target of a theft attempt (his port journal is likely the best in Specularum after those of the Vorloi family).
Protagoras is a wiry, heavily tanned Thyatian in his early forties, with curly, salt and pepper hair. He dresses in uncommonly colourful clothes for a Thyatian, often donning a bright red scarf.
Cesare “Dagger” Lorenson
Fighter 10/Merchant 3, Neutral
STR 13, INT 10, WIS 14, DEX 15, CON 11, CHA 12
Expert: Rapier; Skilled: Dagger; Basic: Long sword, Short sword
Duelling, Fast Draw, Knowledge of the society of Darokin, Geography of Darokin
Darokinian, Thyatian, Traladaran
An expatriate from Darokin, between 30 and 40 years old, Cesare has lived in Specularum for four years
He arrived in the city from Ierendi, from where he had fled after having been accused of embezzling funds of the merchant house he was working with, the Mauntea, and of revealing trade secrets to unidentified foreign merchants. He has nothing to do with either crime , as he was framed by a friend and co-worker, Jago Ladich, who is in league with Shadow Elf spies. Cesare had discovered traces of the Shadow Elven infiltration, but had not traced it to Jago. Actually, he went to his friend for help in the investigation, and Jago was quick to betray him, with the help of a Second Shadow infiltrator.
After his escape from Darokin, Cesare was ambushed by Shadow Elf assassins in Ierendi, so he decided to bury his identity there. Faking his own death, he relocated to Specularum, and assumed the name of “Dagger” (from the habit he has taken on of sleeping with a dagger under his pillow). He is currently living in the Foreign Quarter in a rented room, and supports himself by teaching the Darokinian fencing style in the courtyard behind the house.
Low or medium level Player Characters can meet Dagger if they are looking for a Rapier or Dagger master. If they look tough and stealthy, Dagger may provide them with adventure hooks, as a way to test them and, at the same time, manoeuvre them against his own enemies (the Shadow Elves, primarily, but also Jago Ladich, who is now a senior agent in House Mauntea). When they finally reach the high Expert levels and earn Dagger’s trust (not an easy task, considering his past), Dagger will try to recruit them to help in his personal vendetta.
Rosa Luln / Roxana Calihar
Magic User 4, Neutral
STR 8, INT 15, WIS 14, DEX 11, CON 10, CHA 13
Skilled: Dagger; Basic: Staff
Oratory 13, Leadership 13, Knowledge of Philosophy 15, Knowledge of Karameikan politics 15
Traladaran (native), Thyatian 15, Darokinian 15.
Roxana Calihar is a tall, skinny, dark haired woman of about 40 years old. She wears practical Traladaran clothes in Specularum, or in male Thyatian clothes when she is travelling.
The daughter of a Traladaran man from a lesser branch of the Calihar merchant dynasty and a Thyatian adventuress, Roxana grew in Specularum but moved with her family to Selenica at the age of 12. Both her parents were involved in the Marilenev Rebellion, so they chose to flee rather than stay in Karameikos after the rebellion failed. Contrary to most insurgents, her parents were not followers of the Marilenev family, but rather members of the small Republican sect of Fabritius Luscinia, the famed (or infamous, depending on who you ask) Thyatian political philosopher and revolutionary who died in the Marilenev Rebellion.
In Selenica, Roxana grew up reading Thyatian philosophy books like “The Republic of Thyatis”' of Luscinia or “The Senator'” by Nicholous. She spent five years at the prestigious University of Al- Azrad, earning a magisterial title in philosophy and rhetoric. While at the University, Roxana also took up a limited knowledge of arcane magic. With respect to her political mentor, Roxana developed a political thought more concerned with improving the conditions of the common people (especially the town labourers and the peasants) than with reforming the political system.
Armed with her ideas, and using her nom de plume, “Rosa Luln”, instead of her real name, she moved back to Specularum in 993, and investigated the peculiar conditions of the city – especially its large peasant and labourer population and its position as the only large city in Karameikos. As Rosa Luln, she has published a tract on the history of the Guilds of Specularum, with a comparison of guild systems in Darokin, Karameikos and Minrothad that was well received by the academicians of Darokin and Thyatis, less so by the Guildsmen of Specularum and Minrothad, since it harshly criticizes the guild system for excluding the unskilled labourers and peasants.
She currently lives in the South End, and she has fallen in with a group of former adventurers and labourers unsatisfied with the current state of the city politics. Roxana plans to petition the Duke for the constitution of a Labour Guild that would represent all unskilled labourers of Specularum and would obtain a position in the town council. She also plans to ask that the pricing policies, currently controlled by the guilds, be placed under the direct control of the town council. Obviously, her plans are anathema to the current guilds, which benefit enormously from their privileges.
The PCs can meet Rosa if the live in the South End – she runs a free reading and writing course for the neighbourhood kids, and often gives public lectures. Note that, while Rosa is not well liked by many powerful figures, but she does enjoy a degree of protection, since she has powerful friends, including some former adventurers – her current companion, Karl Vladimirov (F6, N), is also the leader of the South End labourers – and two Republican Senators of Thyatis.
If something happened to Rosa, the Thyatian government would be quick to exploit this to criticize the Karameikan government for their brutal policies (after all, Thincol's government didn't kill Luscinia, while Stefan's supposedly more benevolent rulership would be marked not only by Luscinia's death, but also by Rosa's). Thus, PCs aligned with the government might be asked to keep Rosa alive, while preventing her from starting a rebellion.
Traladaran Cleric 6, Lawful
STR 11, INT 13, WIS 15, DEX 8, CON 10, CHA 12
Mace, Staff, Sling
Religion (Church of Traladara, 15), Laws and Justice (Karameikos, 15), Profession (Accountant, 13), Reading/Writing (13), Ceremony (Halav, 13)
Traladaran (native), Thyatian (13)
Rodoz Marianov, a senior priest of the Church of Traladara, has been working for years as the personal secretary of Patriarch Nikelnevich. He is about 50 years old, thus older than his master, and shows it, having none of the warrior-priest attitude of Nikelnevich. He has greying hair (originally light crown), and he shaves regularly. Marianov is thin-boned, with narrow shoulders and a bit of a paunch. Since he is often called to attend the Patriarch during official events, he generally wears the formal clothes of a priest of Traladara, and keeps a knurdel with him.
Marianov was born in one of the Traladaran villages near the site of modern Penhaligon. He moved to Specularum after the arrival of Duke Stefan, joining the Church as a way to support the Traladaran people. He thus was a novice at the same time as the younger Nikelnevich, with whom he struck a quick friendship, recognizing the unusual drive and early wisdom of the younger boy. Not much of a leader, Marianov remained in the shadow of Nikelnevich as the future Patriarch rose through the ranks. Nikelnevich appreciated the genuine devotion and the unyielding honesty of Marianov, and chose him as his personal secretary.
When Nikelnevich became Patriarch, the financial state of the Church was unsteady, so he asked Marianov to help him reorganize the accounting according to the modern Thyatian and Darokinian practices. Marianov took well to the job, as his natural attention to detail and his honesty combined with the professional knowledge he soon developed. To this day, Marianov oversees the funds of the Church. He is a careful accountant and guards the church funds jealously, always demanding explanations for expenses. The same single-minded honesty makes him lacking in flexibility – it is very hard to get him to agree to any "shady" business, even if it would serve order and justice.
Like his Patriarch, Marianov is concerned with keeping the peace between the Traladarans and Thyatians. He believes the two people should put aside their differences and cooperate to eradicate the dark cults and the monstrous creatures that still threaten much of the Karameikan wildernesses. Marianov is a very superstitious man, likely to believe in evil omens and resort to legends about demons and evil deities. As a young man up North, he witnessed cultists of the Horned One rampage through his village. It was this event that originally pushed him to go to Specularum and then to join the Church and it is still his goal to rid Karameikos of the Cult of the Dark Triad.
Alasiyan NM, Neutral
STR 11, INT 13, WIS 13, DEX 9, CON 7, CHA 14
Leadership (14), Bargaining (9), Reading/Writing (13), Streetwise (13)
Alasiyan (native), Thyatian (13)
Narim Muskalin is an Ylari aesthete and bohemian. He is a true hazar: a city-dweller who has been cut from his Alasiyan roots, at least as far as the Alasiyan nomads are concerned. He left the Emirates years ago, since, as one of the unbelievers, he faced religious persecution from the followers of the Eternal Truth. After spending some years as a traveling merchant in the Empire of Thyatis, Muskalin settled in the Ylari district of Specularum. Having a good command of the Thyatian language, and an understanding of Thyatian customs, he worked at first as an interpreter for Ylari caravaneers, and later as a merchant, until he realized that he would have to work less if he could set up a business where the goods could sell themselves – so, he opened the “Myrrh of the Night”, at first as a smoking house, but soon after turning it into a brothel.
Narim employs a motley crew of prostitutes of various races, sexes and persuasions, who are protected by a dozen Ylari goons. Forays by the Swords of Kalim to purge the hazar areas of the Ylari district tax his strength and wallet, and he has thus forged an alliance with the dwarves, long-time cultural friends. His ties to the dwarves allow him to sell dwarven mushroom moonshine in his establishment. Unfortunately, temperance has never been a strong asset of Narim's, and temptations easily have the best of him. So, he started “sampling” the moonshine himself, developing a nasty addiction for the substance. Whereas moonshine simply makes a dwarf's personality more aggressive, in humans the effect is much stronger, leading to occasional berserk rages. During these rages, Narim suffers a -2 penalty to all mental scores (Int, Wis and Cha) and related skills, while enjoying a +2 bonus to Constitution and Strength.
Narim is a tall Alasiyan man, with typical curly, raven black hair tied in a pony-tail. He grows a stylish moustache and goatee. Due to his long travels and age (Narim his about 50), his skin is tanned dark and mottled with liver spots, especially on his hands and shoulders. The addiction to moonshine has sapped Narim's health, and his eyes and skin have started showing pronounced signs of jaundice. Narim dresses in comfortable hazar clothes in bright colours, and keeps a wildly decorated dagger in his sash at all times. The dagger is mostly there for show, as its unusual shape and decoration make it unwieldy, reducing damage by 1 point (to a minimum of 1). Moreover, Narim is not much of a fighter, and his not even competent in handling it. He relies on his goons and his good relations with other gangs to protect himself and his prostitutes.
Thyatian Fighter 6, Neutral
STR 12, INT 13, WIS 11, DEX 9, CON 11, CHA 10
Long sword (skilled), dagger, club, spear, light crossbow
Knowledge of the South End (13), Laws Codes (11), Riding (9), Etiquette (10)
Thyatian (native), Traladaran (13)
Cassius Porius is a middle aged Thyatian veteran. After serving for years in the northern keeps as a Sergeant, he retired from the army and came to Specularum, using his savings to buy some real estate in the South End. He quickly managed to obtain a stable income from renting out rooms, leaving him with more spare time than most inhabitants of this lower class quarter. That and his military experience, led him to become the best candidate for captaincy of the South End when the old captain retired. The position also appealed to him, as it gave prestige and recognition, which, after a career in the lower ranks of the army, Porius craved. He easily won his first elections, and has managed to be confirmed in the role for two more terms – not because he is especially efficient as the captain of the night watch, but because he was able to strike some deals with local criminals like Stavros. Porius overlooks less messy crimes (especially protection rackets and pandering) that happen in the South End, and in return he gets a quiet quarter with little to no muggings or murders.
Porius is a political animal who cares most of all for appearances and the facade of order. If need be, he will arrest an innocent man if he cannot find the real culprit. He would do so to safeguard his own position as Captain, showing good performance to his electors, but rationalizes it as keeping order and allowing the average man to feel safe. On the other hand, he is not as easily swayed with money – he has enough to live, and does not have major vices or expenditures. Porius is also well known by the local prostitutes as a good customer who does not care about some scars, and never causes them himself.
Cassius Porius looks like a typical Thyatian legionnaire – not too tall but endowed with a sturdy build, dark hair (with greying temples) cut short in a military style, and a broad face with a badly fixed broken nose. He dresses in Thyatian style, often wearing at least one item in the colours of the South End. He is generally armed, and wears a leather jerkin when on patrol. He is usually escorted by a couple of his watchmen.
Cleric 8/Greater Wererat 10, Chaotic
STR 13, INT 11, WIS 15, DEX 14, CON 8/9, CHA 13/12.
Skilled: Mace, Wrestling
General Skills (as Human):
Ceremony (Orcus) 15, Stealth (Urban) 14, Religion (Cult of the Dark Triad) 15, Escape 14, Leadership 13
General Skills (as Wererat):
Leadership 12, Transformation +1 10, Tracking 11, Know Terrain (Specularum)
11, Danger Sense 15
Traladaran (native), Thyatian 11
A small Traladaran woman with long, mousy brown hair, Anastasia Rodinos was born in Halag in 957 AC to a middle class family. When the Black Eagle (Baron Ludwig von Hendriks) invaded Halag, Anastasia was a novice in the Church of Traladara. She was able to escape the Church building – as far as she knows, she was the only survivor – only to find her family murdered by the Black Eagle's men. For months, she hid in abandoned buildings, surviving on stolen or leftover food. During this time, she contracted lycanthropy from a lone lesser Wererat, Mhykh. She survived the infection, to discover that Mhykh was still there, and that he now considered her a friend – actually, a “boss”. “Little boss Tash” and her new sidekick left Fort Doom by stowing on a ship bound to Specularum in rat form. In the following years, Anastasia and Mhykh established a lair in the sewers of Specularum.
Anastasia, though, was not content with mere survival – she wanted vengeance for her family and her fellow priests, but she saw that the Traladarans had submitted to the evil Duke's rule, and the Church itself was weak. She determined to find a source of strength, an edge that would give the Traladarans the power to repel the invaders, like Halav's bronze swords had turned the Beastman wave.
Thus, she left Mhykh in charge of the small group of wererats they had gathered in the past years, and started on a pilgrimage to the holy sites of the Beastman War, Krakatos and the Volaga river. Everywhere, she found only ruins. In Penhaligon, Anastasia heard tales of a monastery that had been left alone for centuries, since the end of old Vaion in the Vampire Wars. Perhaps she could find some relic there, she thought, or writs of priests not weakened by the Thyatian yoke to give her strength. She found monsters, and a single, decrepit, blind monk. How could the frail monk survive unscathed among powerful hobgoblin warriors when she had to use all of here lycanthropic skills to avoid them? This monk sure had some hidden power, and it could be the power she needed.
So, Anastasia spent years learning from that ancient priest, who spoke not of Halav, Petra and Zirchev or the Traladaran Twelve of Mount Tarsus, but of stronger forces that gave power to those who craved it: Orcus, Black Prince of the Dead; Leptar, the Ape King; and Demogorgon, Prince of Demons. Armed with the lore of the Dark Triad, Anastasia emerged from the Monastery on the Hill in 986, and headed back to Specularum, only to make a horrifying discovery. Her wererat band had grown, sure, but control had been wrested from the hands of loyal but slow-thinking Mhykh by nothing else than the avatar of her enemy, a dashing Thyatian rogue, one Decius Andronicus (Rake 9/Wererat 10, N).
A terrible war began, with Anastasia, Mhykh, and a number of loyal Traladaran wererats on one side and Decius' Thyatian newcomers on the other. The war still rages, and until Decius is alive, Anastasia knows she will not be able to spring her master plan to free Traladara from the Duke and his cronies.
Anastasia is slightly over 40 years old, but looks much younger, about 30, thanks to the unnatural vitality of the “beast within”. In human form, she is not a striking beauty, but her strong passions give her eyes an inner fire that makes her more attractive than others. Anastasia has mastered the Rat-man form, and that's the form she prefers to use when stalking her enemies in the night. In Rat-man form, she looks more muscular, her skin is covered in a dark brown fur that becomes a long mane over her head and back.
The Player Characters may meet Anastasia if they get involved in her private war against Decius Andronicus. She'll likely approach a Wererat newcomer, if he's not Thyatian, to recruit him, or she'll send her followers to kill a Thyatian Wererat PC. Her gang and Decius' include both lesser and greater Wererats, and may have infiltrated other factions. Anastasia's wererats control the sewers under the Old Quarter and the Nest, while those of Decius control the Hill and the Great Market.
Cee Salt/Cyrus Salides
Normal Man, Lawful
STR 9, INT 15, WIS 11, DEX 13, CON 8, CHA 10
Geography of the Sea of Dread 15, Cartography 15, Knowledge of sea currents and winds of the Sea of Dread 15, Weather Prediction 11
“Cee Salt” is a young cartographer and sage, well known in Specularum as the foremost authority on the Sea of Dread and its dangers – which is not much, since most sailors and captains from Karameikos never go beyond Minrothad, Ierendi, or Port Lucinius. While Cee Salt has never visited any port – he suffers from sea sickness – he can rely on an excellent Thyatian portulan inherited from his father (a Thyatian sea captain named Varis Salides).
“Cee Salt” is just a nickname, as the sage thought his real name, Cyrus Salides, was too ordinary for a sage and, combined with his young age (he’s only 23), would disrupt his business.
Cee Salt is tall and slim, and dresses in light blue long tunics with matching hats (he always wears a chaperon-type hat outdoors). He tends to cough occasionally while speaking and to look at his charts instead of the person he is speaking to. He also suffers from a light case of myopia, so he tends to read from a hunched posture.
The Player Characters will be directed to Cee Salt by ship captains, innkeepers and adventurers if they have questions regarding the Sea of Dread and its many islands and atolls. On the other hand, Cee Salt is on friendly terms with many adventurers and former adventurers, including Lord Devon Hyraksos, Lathan Spearhand, and Thrumbar Shieldkroten, and can introduce the PCs to his contacts if they befriend him.
Finally, Cee Salt has an innate talent as a Magic-User, though he was never trained as one, and does not know of his talent. A good Magic User can detect this talent on an Intelligence check at -10, with a bonus equal to 1/2 his level (round down). The sage could be an excellent apprentice for a name level Magic User, though he would be quite scared at first, and may need some persuasion.
Silverbeard the Younger
Rockborn Dwarf 5, Lawful
STR 12, INT 15, WIS 11, DEX 13, CON 12, CHA 13
Battle axe (skilled)
Goldsmith (17), Bureaucracy (15), Reading/Writing (15)
Dwarven (native), Thyatian (14)
Thorur son of Thoric Silverbeard, of the Syrklist clan, is known to most as Silverbeard the Younger, in order to distinguish him from his equally highly famous grandfather, Thorur Silverbeard the Elder. Thorur Silverbeard the Elder was the key figure in the creation of the Goldsmiths' Guild, which he led until his retirement. His grandson is now the Guildmaster – a position that has remained within the family since the foundation of the guild.
Thus, Thorur is easily the most important dwarf in Karameikos – not because of his skill as a goldsmith (though he does excel in the profession) nor because of his battle prowess – Thorur is a competent warrior, but not a professional. His real power resides in the guild's control of large reserves of gold, silver and other precious materials, which the Guildmaster can use to influence the government, the other guilds, and almost all factions in Karameikos. Only the Moneylenders' Guild and the Darokinian bankers can finance projects on the same scale as the Goldsmiths' Guild. Thorur is well aware of the power he wields, and uses it exclusively to improve the station of his guild within the nation, as well as to generate revenue. In general, his interests (and those of the guild) tend to match those of Philip Vorloi, so Thorur is considered an ally of the Baron.
To protect the treasury of the guild, the Silverbeards employ only dwarven guards and dwarven engineers from the Syrklist clan of Rockhome, so that the secrets of the Guildhall remain within the clan. Thorur keeps in touch with traveling Syrklist merchants, so he generally knows when a trustworthy member of the clan is in Specularum. Since it is often difficult to arrange for Rockhome dwarves to move to Karameikos, Thorur often offers jobs to those dwarves that are already in Specularum.
Thorur is a typical dwarf, short and stocky, with dark, wavy hair greying at the temples, and a long beard.
He dresses in sturdy, dark clothes in Thyatian style, with a golden badge showing the emblem of the guild. He is rarely encountered outside the Guildhall – he lives there, and only leaves to attend inter-guild meetings or audiences with the Duke or the ministers of Trade and Finances.
Traladaran Thief 8, Neutral
STR 12 INT 10 WIS 14
DEX 11 CON 12 CHA 13
Dagger (expert), club
Knowledge of the Veiled Society (10), Intimidation (12), Streetwise (10), Leadership (13)
Traladaran (native), Thyatian (10)
A local Veiled Society starosta of the South End, Stavros is a Traladaran man who works from a local Traladaran restaurant, the “Borsch”. Even though he is an elder member of the Society, he often takes part in street action. The Starosta is a stern man who will kill anyone who offends the Society, but sometimes he may change the sentence into a service, if there are mitigating circumstances. In some cases he has even been known to reward people who perform well in such missions where the wage was supposed to be sparing their life. Stavros has an uneasy truce with the district guard captain, Porius – Stavros keeps crime from becoming too evident in his area (by avoiding murders and muggings, or at least by having victims disappear, as well as by keeping away freelance thieves), and Porius ignores his protection racket and other, subtler, crimes.
Stavros has some of the “honour among thieves” – in addition to being loyal to the Society, he usually keeps his bargains (unless direct orders from the Society leadership prevent him). Moreover, his criminal activities often appear to benefit the local residents – he does run a protection racket, but he truly keeps other criminals outside his area, and does not try to squeeze so much money from his victims as to ruin them (more ruthless starosta will often ruin a shopkeeper to take over his activity).
Stavros answers directly to the lower rungs of the secret Radu leadership of the Veiled Society, so he appears to most outsiders to be an independent, if minor, crime lord.
The Starosta looks like a typical lower-class Traladaran, with none of the ostentation of wealth often sported by Nest starosta. He is in his middle fifties, stout and still well-muscled. He usually carries a single hidden weapon (a razor-sharp dagger), relying on a group of thugs to protect himself from any harm.
Thief 5/Fence 4, Neutral
STR 11, INT 12, WIS 13, DEX 15, CON 10, CHA 14
Skilled: Dagger; Basic: Sap
Appraisal 12, Bargaining 14, Knowledge of the Specularum underground 12, Knowledge of The Nest 12
Traladaran (native), Thyatian 12
Gheorghe Stelea is a well-known dealer in “used” goods in The Nest. He is also a member of the Veiled Society. His primary source of income derives from his activity as a fence: when something has been stolen, there is a good chance it will end up in Gheorghe’s hands. This quite well known, both to the people of The Nest and to those who know the criminal underworld of Specularum, but Gheorghe is quite safe from reprisals from the law, since the Guard Phorsis does not enter the Nest – and even if they did, Gheorghe would know it well before they could reach him. Thus, Gheorghe feels very confident, to the point that he spends most of his time sitting in front of his shop, nursing a cup of tea, dressed in gaudy Traladaran-style clothes.
Stelea is a small, wiry man with black hair and drooping moustache, with a remarkably bad taste in clothing and an invariably excessive display of jewellery. He is irritatingly slow in all his dealings, except when senior members of the Veiled Society are involved – at those times, he becomes uncharacteristically solicitous.
The Player Characters can get involved with Gheorghe in two cases: either they are Veiled Society thieves trying to get rid of some pilfered goods, or they are trying to track down stolen goods of some kind – information Gheorghe is likely to have, but which he won't part without a significant profit. In the first case, Gheorghe will occasionally have jobs or orders to pass to the Veiled PCs.
Father Barris Strolojca
Cleric 3, Lawful
STR 15, INT 12, WIS 16, DEX 11, CON 10, CHA 13
Skilled: Mace, Basic: Staff
Etiquette 13, Religion (Church of Traladara) 16, Ceremony (Church of Traladara) 16
Traladaran (Native), Thyatian
A plumpish and balding man, aged in his early thirties, Barris Strolojca is the second son of a Vice-Minister, Lord Anton Strolojca, in the Ministry of Trade.
Barris entered into the novitiate of the Church of Traladara at 14, since he didn't have any propensity for the martial career undertaken by his younger brother, Hugo, or the administrative career of his older brother, Marek. Since Anton is the younger brother of Marius Strolojca, lord of a small domain between Vandevicsny and the Black Eagle Barony, who doesn't have any direct heir, and is not likely to produce one in his old age, Barris stands third in the line of inheritance after his father and older brother. He expects Marek to inherit the fief, though, so he concentrates on his work for the Church, where he is a librarian at the cathedral in Specularum.
A group of Player Characters can easily meet Barris, since he spends most of his time in the library attached to the cathedral. Since there is currently a shortage of priests (as an effect of Sergyev's schism five years ago), Barris is overworked and has sometimes to take up other duties in addition to being the librarian. He is eager to find any help, and will certainly prevail upon any visiting novice or priest. His most important project is to collect maps of pre-Thyatian Traladara, in order to locate and explore a number of lost churches and temples of the Church of Traladara and recover whatever relics are left – and possibly identify and track down stolen relics as well.
Ierendian NM, Neutral
STR 9, INT 13, WIS 10, DEX 12, CON 11, CHA 14
Disguise (13), Deception (14), Knowledge of Sea of Dread trade (13), Streetwise (13)
Ierendian (native), Thyatian (13)
Tegell is a man in his early thirties, who is moderately fit but very well groomed. He has dark, wavy hair with a clean-shaved and handsome, face that is dominated by a pair of sparkling black eyes and a crooked smile. He is well tanned, but otherwise difficult to identify as an Ierendian, except by his accent, since, like many Ierendians, he has Thyatian and Darokinian origins. He usually dresses as a well-to-do merchant, usually conforming to the local fashion when he is abroad. In Specularum, he favours the Traladaran style over the Thyatian one. However, he is quite skilled at disguises – a skill honed in dozens of con schemes in Ierendi and abroad. He often chooses to dress as a Minrothaddan or Thyatian when in disguise.
Tegell comes from a family of modest means, and he always envied and resented the powerful aristocratic families that rule Ierendi, desiring his share of wealth and power. He started his career selling fake souvenirs on the streets of Ierendi, then moving on to working as a moneychanger (thanks to the rampant inflation of the Ierendi currency), and reinvesting his gains in mercantile ventures. His illegal activities hit the interest of a rich foreign merchant, who happened to be friends with a Ki'ai, who took things in his hands. Tegell was thus forced to leave Ierendi, succeeding thanks to his skill at disguises.
Tegell has just arrived in Specularum, and is already looking into some grand scheme that will reverse his fortunes. He considers Karameikans to be naive and gullible, and is willing to put in motion large-scale jobs. He has therefore made contact with other Ierendian expatriates, which he plans to use as pawns in his schemes. His confidence is in part supported by his ring of invisibility, as Tegell believes the item will help him avoid capture, should his schemes fail. Since he considers the ring a trump card to be reserved for the last hand, he will rely on his skills and charms to bypass all obstacles, unless there is a clear danger for his life.
Thrakianus von Alberndorf, Knight of the Griffon
Thyatian (Hattian) Fighter 8, Chaotic
STR 15 INT 10 WIS 8 DEX 12 CON 11 CHA 13
Long sword (skilled), bastard sword, dagger
Leadership (13), Reading/Writing (10), Religion (Church of Karameikos, 10), Riding
(12), Intimidation (15)
Languages: Thyatian (native)
A Knight of the Griffon in good standing, Sir Lucius Thrakianus is a Karameikan of Hattian origin, though he was adopted at an early age into his Thyatian mother's family, the minor noble’s house of Thrakius. Thus, his original name (Luzius von Alberndorf) was Thyatianized and modified to reflect his adoption. Lucius idolizes the Hattians, considering them the proudest inheritor of the Thyatian spirit, epitomized in the Black Eagle Baron – conversely, he deems the Traladaran an inferior race. He is also a devoted follower of Vanya, the Thyatian Immortal patron of war. Lucius resents the power of the clergy of Asterius in the Church of Karameikos, and thinks that Patriarch Oderbry would be much more suited to lead the Church than Patriarch Jowett, whom he sees as senile and weak.
Lucius acts as an agent of Alfric Oderbry, but his zeal and stubbornness make him easy to provoke or otherwise lead to actions that could hamper Oderbry's faction rather than help it. For example, he and his cronies might organize a celebration of Vanya's Dance, a Hattian festival, in the first week of Felmont (right after the Traladaran festival of the Beast's Day), for the first time in the history of the Church of Karameikos, attracting the ire of both conservative and New Karameikan members of the Church of Karameikos and those of the Traladarans.
For all his failures, Lucius is a brave warrior and a skilled fencer with the long sword. He wields in battle a powerful magic sword, a family heirloom, Adlerklaue. The sword has a long, slender blade mounted on a horn hilt. According to family lore, one of the early Von Alberndorfs, a Knight of the Air, had a claw of his mount, a large Roc, fashioned into the sword's hilt when the Roc died. Adlerklaue is a +2 longsword, +3 vs spellcasters.
Lucius looks like a typical Hattian, except that he has a slightly darker complexion than the average Hattian, and has curly brown hair, cut short. He almost always wears the trappings of the Knights of the Griffon, and is generally found in the company of a half dozen likely minded squires and younger knights (F3 or F5).
Lt. Aloysius Vandevic
Fighter 5, Lawful
STR 13, INT 9, WIS 12, DEX 11, CON 10, CHA 12
Skilled: Bastard Sword, Basic: Longsword, Heavy Crossbow, Lance
Riding (Horse) 11, Military Tactics 9, Leadership 12, Knowledge of the geography of Karameikos 9
Traladaran (native), Thyatian 9
Aloysius Vandevic is the younger brother of Lord Gustav Vandevic, the lord of Vandevicsny. He is taller than the typical Traladaran, and has dark red hair – probably inherited from his Flaem ancestors. When the two brothers were younger, they travelled extensively across Karameikos. Since Gustav has always been the scholarly type, Aloysius was the arm of the team, and quickly grew to become a skilled fighter. Thanks to his ability as a warrior and his noble status, Aloysius obtained a commission in the “Sword of Halav'” battalion of the Karameikan army. While in Rugalov Tower, he married Ivana Lutescu, a cousin of Lord Vlad.
After the birth of their daughter Laina six years ago, Aloysius asked and obtained to be moved to the Duke's Guard in Specularum, where he is currently a Lieutenant. A competent but unimaginative officer, Aloysius is not likely to progress much further in his career. He is, however, content with his current office. Player characters are likely to meet Aloysius if they are summoned at the Duke's Palace, since he is in charge of one of the guard squads. Or, they may meet him if they are mingle with the Traladaran or New Karameikan high society, since Aloysius and Ivana are frequent guests at the Darokinian Embassy balls. If the PCs have a reputation of being good, reliable warriors, Aloysius may consider them for enrolment in the Duke's Guard, or for freelance investigative jobs – the Phorsis Guard is severely stretched with its resources, and the Duke's Guard has to help investigating crimes involving residents of the Hill, without having the right training.
Fighter 13 (Paladin), Lawful
STR 13, INT 14, WIS 13, DEX 11, CON 10, CHA 12
Master: Two-handed Sword; Skilled: Bastard Sword; Basic: Longsword, Battle Axe
Blind Fighting 13, Duelling 14, Arena Acting 12, Riding (Horse) 11, Ceremony
(Vanya) 13, Profession (Weapon Drill Instructor) 14, Religion (Church of Karameikos) 13.
Thyatian (native), Traladaran 14
At 70, Corbula Vespasian is the eldest member of the Order of the Griffon. His once massive frame is now gaunt and his movements slow (thus, his physical ability scores are at -3 with respect to the original values), but his eyes are still clear, and his mind still quick.
Born in Thyatis City from a middle class family, Corbula had a natural talent for fighting, especially with large, slashing weapons. He entered the gladiatorial team of Flavian Osteropulos in AC 953, quickly becoming a favourite of the arena crowds fighting other gladiators and wild beasts. At 30, Corbula retired from the arena and embarked on an empire-wide tour, demonstrating his fighting skills by facing local champions in practice bouts. In AC 962, in a public demonstration held on the practice grounds of the Guard Phorsis in Specularum, he beat three Traladaran warriors sponsored by the Radu, Marilenev and Torenescu clans, becoming an instant celebrity among the Thyatian population.
By AC 970, Corbula had almost exhausted his savings from the arena days, and was too old to take up adventuring. He had also become a devout follower of Vanya. So, he answered Stefan Karameikos’ call, and moved to Specularum, where he discovered he was still hugely popular among Thyatian warriors. Patriarch Halaran, then organizing the armed forces of the new Church of Karameikos, approached the warrior, offering him the position of weapons master of the Church warriors. Since then, Corbula joined the Order of the Griffon, and maintained his role for twenty years, retiring in AC 990. He has since dedicated most of his time to studying the teachings of Vanya and the philosophy of the Church of Karameikos.
PC fighters may meet Corbula at the Order's Hall, where he has lived for most of the last 30 years. While too old for adventuring and even for most weapon practice, Corbula is still the foremost expert in two-handed sword fighting in Karameikos. Thus, high-level fighter PCs may turn to him for training. Vladimir
Traladaran Fighter 11, Chaotic.
STR 14, INT 13, WIS 14, DEX 9, CON 12, CHA 16
Expert: Battle axe; Basic: Dagger, Wrestling, Short sword.
Stealth (Urban, 9), Leadership (16), Intimidation (14), Snares (13), Military Tactics (guerrilla warfare, 13), Heavy Drinking (12).
Traladaran (native), Thyatian (13)
Nobody knows Vladimir's family name, and he has buried it so deep in his soul that nothing can dig it out. His only kin is the revolution. He is a tired old man (50 years) with haunted eyes. His face is wrinkled with the weight of both years and old deeds, and his hair has turned grey. He limps with his right leg, but not so badly that it would affect his melee abilities adversely - his experience offsets this disadvantage. In battle, Vladimir wields a heavy axe. As one might guess, he is seldom seen in public. In fact his cell does not have a constant headquarters. Instead they rely on a fluid network of safe houses, sympathizers, friends and supporters. Vladimir's long life has been filled with battle, death, betrayal, hiding and fear. His entire family was massacred during the Marilenev rebellion, and he will never be able to forget or forgive that. Everyone of Thyatian descent is guilty, and any Traladaran who “collaborates” with them is a traitor. He has seen nightmares so many years that he wouldn't recognize a normal dream. Thus the members of the Cult of Ruul, his uneasy allies in the scenario “War Conceived”, don't seem that insane to him (the other members of the Spring Flood wouldn't agree, perhaps with the exception of the most extreme fanatics). Then again Vladimir doesn't understand their celibacy. Life is too short to waste on self-restraint. He drinks huge amounts of wine, vodka and beer, and is able to hold it in. He is a competent fighter and a veteran of numerous battles, and a captivating public speaker. His rough voice seems to convey emotion so powerful as to heat the spirits of the most mellow listeners. Listening to him is like listening to a chorus of voices from the oppressed history of the Traladara.
As the leader of the Spring Flood, Vladimir never travels alone. He is generally accompanied by a group of five to eight members of the Spring Flood (most of them would be Fighters of levels 4-6, but one is often a wizard or cleric of comparable level).
Ierendi Thief 4, Chaotic.
STR 13, INT 13, WIS 10, DEX 16, CON 14, CHA 9
Cutlass (skilled), dagger.
Intimidation (13), Leadership (9), Streetwise (13), Sailor (13.
Ierendian (native), Thyatian (13))
Zila is a veteran Ierendian pirate, a tough fighting woman in her early forties. She once was the captain of a pirate ship, but broke her leg in a pitched battle against a Thyatian patrol ship. The pirates escaped, but Zila could not fight with her broken leg, and was voted out of her position as captain of the ship. She and the few veterans loyal to her were dumped on a lifeboat off the coast of Karameikos. They reached Specularum and settled in the Foreign Quarter, where they could easily blend in the local Ierendian population.
As soon as Zila was back on her legs, she started plotting ways to obtain a new ship and crew. She and her followers gathered a few Ierendian thugs from the neighbourhood, and looked into ways of supporting themselves until they could leave. In the end, they settled for a protection racket, which soon covered the easternmost blocks of the Foreign Quarter. Given the relative ease of her first success in Specularum, Zila is not anymore in a hurry to leave – actually, she is now planning to take over the protection of the entire quarter by ousting the other ethnic gangs.
“The Breakwater”, as the Ierendian gang calls itself is a growing force in the precarious balance of the Foreign Quarter. Besides Zila, it is composed by five veteran pirates (F2) and twelve local thugs (T1). Zila is rather paranoid, and keeps everyone on a short leash.
Zila is no beauty, with a lot of scars and a badly broken nose. She has dark curly hair cropped short and an olive complexion. She is very fit, with lean but strong muscles, and she is quick as a cat and a deadly opponent in a sword fight.