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Shadowy Cloaks and Silent Daggers:
Espionage Organisations in Mystara


by Geoff Gander and James Ruhland



This article continues where its predecessor, Shadowy Cloaks and Silent Daggers - A Guide to Espionage in a Fantasy Roleplaying Setting, left off. In the first article, I outlined one method by which espionage could be incorporated into a fantasy gaming world, taking into account the medieval political system, the impact of magic, and most importantly the motivations of the PCs. It also provided an overview of espionage organisations, how they are structured, their operations, and how agents relate to them. This article goes into greater depth in one area - that of espionage organisations. In the pages to follow, you will read about the various organisations which conduct espionage - indeed, that is their speciality - through Mystara, with emphasis on the Known World. They are described according to a common template, allowing DMs to compare them as objectively as possible, and enough information has been provided to allow for easy insertion into any campaign. As a side note, DMs do not need Shadowy Cloaks and Silent Daggers - A Guide to Espionage in a Fantasy Roleplaying Setting in order to incorporate the information contained herein; although the previous article is very useful in understanding the concepts behind fantasy espionage, this article has been designed to stand alone, if necessary.

As a note of introduction, most people who have read any of the Gazetteers will notice that many of them contain political information relevant to the various nations - who is allied with whom, who has political clout, and what schemes are being hatched. Although most Mystaran nations detailled in the series have political organisations of some sort (this is especially true for Glantri and Thyatis), not all of these were engaged in espionage. Most of the organisations described in this article, in contrast, have been designed with espionage in mind. This is not to say that all of them are spy rings (though many in fact are), only that they should lend themselves readily to campaigning with a "cloak and dagger" feel. Another important distinction is that, with few exceptions, the organisations presented herein are all new; they do not appear in any "official" sources. This was intended partly to address what the authors saw as gaps in the campaign setting (a dearth of shadowy groups operating behind the scenes), but also as an exercise in creativity.

As discussed above, each organisation description is structured according to a standardised format, to better aid the reader in comparing them with each other. The criteria are reviewed below:

[Society Name]

Base of Operations: [where the organisation operates or has its headquarters]

Number of Members: [a rough estimate of membership - DMs are free to alter this as needed]

Organisational Structure: [how the organisation is structured]

Political Outlook: [possibly the organisation's "alignment", but also its main interests in summary form]

Types of Operations: [what the organisation does]

Allies: [which people or organisations may be depended on for aid]

Enemies: [as above, but listing those organisations or people who are in opposition]

Background: [how the organisation was founded, why, and what it is doing now]

Adventure Hooks: [ways to involve this organisation in a campaign, whether or not the PCs are members]




The Black Circle

Base of Operations: Oakwall, Kingdom of Wendar.

Symbol: A black ring (many members have this tattooed somewhere on their bodies).

Number of Members: 200-250 members.

Organisational Structure: Cell-like hierarchy.

Political Outlook: Human purist organisation.

Types of Operations: Assassination, thuggery, vandalism - all of which are directed at Wendarian elves and their businesses. Humans who are seen as being sympathisers to the elves are often denounced as "traitors", and receive similar treatment.

Allies: Wendarian human chauvinists.

Enemies: Wendarian elves, the Wendarian government.

Background: The Black Circle was founded circa AC 950 during the aftermath of a particularly violent riot in the town of Oakwall. The riot organisers had alleged that the Wendarian authorities were conducting discriminatory practices against human merchants, forcing many of them out of business. At the same time, elven merchants seemed to be doing very well, and many of them bought the businesses formerly owned by their faltering human competitors. Tensions exploded, and many elven businesses were ransacked, and their proprietors killed. The constabulary, commanded by elven captains, suppressed the rioters within hours, but witnesses claimed for days afterwards that the elves had used extreme prejudice against the humans, going so far as to use offensive magic against them.

Resolving that humans would never receive fair treatment in a land dominated politically by elves, the founders of the Black Circle founded their organisation initially as a self defence network: members would share information about any new government policies which might have an impact on their interests, and the human community as a whole, and then lobby the authorities as a bloc. Within a year, tensions within the new organisation grew to unsustainable levels, as the more militant members argued that sharing information and lobbying would never be enough; the battle must be taken to the elves themselves - burn them out of their homes, vandalise their businesses, and encourage them to leave Oakwall if they refuse to treat humans as equals in every way. Soon, an internal war erupted, with the militant faction gaining control of the organisation, and naming it the Black Circle (no one knows why they chose the name). Over the following decades, the once-reasonable principles of the Black Circle have become corrupted; it is now little more than a large band of hooligans, who delight in causing harm to the elves whenever they can. This, of course, only incites the elves - and the authorities - to respond with more extreme measures, and so the cycle continues again. It has been successful in throwing up obstacles to meaningful dialogue between Wendarian humans and elves, however.

The organisation currently operates in a loose hierarchy of cells, there is a small pyramid structure at the top, with many cells of operatives situated at the bottom. Each cell is composed of 4-8 members (who are thugs for the most part), and each cell leader receives instructions for his (most members are men) superior, who is himself part of the lowest tier of the hierarchy. As the bulk of the Black Circle is composed of its footmen - the people who beat up elves, vandalise elven businesses, and incite riots - there is only a small "administrative" arm, composed of no more than 30 people. The administrators, who make up the actual hierarchy of the Black Circle, are the ones who decide which businesses get attacked, who receives threatening notes, and so on. In more recent years, as the Cult of Idris infiltrated Wendar, the Black Circle has been receiving covert support from the latter group - money, weapons, even magical assistance on occasion, but all anonymously. As of yet, the Black Circle is unaware that it is being subverted by a more malevolent force.

Adventure Hooks: For the most part, the Black Circle only operates in and around Oakwall, but it does have agents (members of the actual hierarchy) based in Wendar City and other major population centres - primarily to observe the goings-on of the state, and to inform their superiors of any opportunities for more mischief. As such, unless the PCs venture to Oakwall, or are avowedly pro-elf (to the point of extremism themselves), they are unlikely to run into this group. Nevertheless, they could be caught up in the Black Circle's machinations if they run across one of the group's cells in action, and stop them. The PCs could, for example, save an elf's life, or prevent a business from being ransacked - possibly capturing one of more of the thugs in the process. Once the Black Circle learns of this, however, the PCs will be marked for death, especially if they are humans, as they will be seen as traitors to their own race.

 

The Black Tower

Base of Operations: A seemingly-abandoned keep north of Vorstadt, Principalities of Glantri.

Symbol: A tall, thin black tower, superimposed on a red circle.

Number of Members: 250-400 members.

Organisational Structure: Hierarchical.

Political Outlook: Maintaining current destabilised Glantrian political system for private gain.

Types of Operations: Assassination, confiscation of sensitive political information and important magic items, espionage, counter-espionage, extortion, infiltration, kidnapping. All of these tasks are performed to the customer's specifications.

Allies: Dolores Hillsbury (aka Synn), as a frequent client.

Enemies: Other espionage organisations operating within Glantrian borders. Otherwise, they oppose anyone whom they are paid to oppose.

Background: The Black Tower was established in AC 830, shortly after the end of the Forty Years War, and the establishment of the magocracy. It initially consisted of those mundaner nobles who had lost their lands and titles, and who sought a means of striking back at what they saw as the source of their problems - the mages. Establishing their headquarters in the catacombs beneath the blackened ruins of Schloss Prenzlau (the former owner was a mundaner, Arnold von Prenzlau, who died during the war; his castle was bombarded with magic as a "lesson" to his former subjects), the Black Tower built its organisation from scratch, recruiting and sheltering fallen nobles and their surviving retinues, and training operatives in the arts of deception. Their goal was to infiltrate the Glantrian institutions of power, and add to the ample chaos already existing there. They hoped that enough discord could be sowed to incite a popular revolt against the magocracy.

Unfortunately for the Black Tower, the revolt never materialised, but they did manage to profit immensely from their activities. Before long, the organisation realised that as long as there were competing mages running the nation, there would always be well-paid work for them to do, as many mages would not dare be seen to be engaging in skulduggery of any sort. Over the centuries, its operatives have become more skilled, able even to circumvent many magical protections in the execution of their tasks (sometimes with the aid of specialised magical devices). Thus, the focus of their operations changed, from trying to destabilise the regime further to maintaining it in its current state. As a result, they have become a de facto institution in their own right; almost every well-connected mage in Glantri knows of the Black Tower's existence, but none of them would dare admit to it publicly. This is in large part because most of them have done business with the "Tower" (as it is referred to in noble parlance) at some time, and to admit to knowing that it exists is the same thing as admitting that one has contracted with them to have some dark deed accomplished. Many nobles maintain a secret stash of funds - often labelled a "tower fund", or "construction fund" - set aside for the very purpose of hiring the Black Tower to perform a task that ought not to be mentioned. Nonetheless, no one really knows where the Black Tower is based (though many have tried to find out), or how to contact them - a representative always comes to a potential customer, somehow, when they need something done. Furthermore, the Black Tower has gained a reputation as an organisation which ought not to be crossed - almost every noble "in the know" is well aware that contracts with it must be honoured, and bills paid promptly; otherwise, the next deed to be committed against them might be done as a favour for a political opponent. Nevertheless, despite the perils inherent in dealing with the Black Tower, it has become one of many useful tools for the princes, one that is highly reliable, efficient, owes loyalty to no one, and asks no unnecessary questions.

In conducting their operations, operatives of the Black Tower are discreet, professional, and prompt. They follow the instructions of their contracts to the letter, accomplish their tasks by the assigned due dates, and always present some form of incontrovertible evidence of their success - they simply do not return if they fail, such are the perils of espionage. When a task is done, there is rarely any evidence left behind, such that the constabulary of Glantri City (where most of the jobs take place) label any unsolved crime a "tower job", regardless of whether or not the Black Tower was actually involved. Through its extensive network of paid informants (who are themselves sworn to secrecy under pain of death), the Black Tower is kept apprised of all debates in Parliament and of goings-on in the larger estates and at parties, and in this manner will approach potential customers secretly, always via anonymous messengers (disguised operatives), with a proposed contract for the job. All the customer has to do is agree to the terms, specify how they want it done and when, pay half of the bill up front, and sign.

The Black Tower is a hierarchical espionage organisation; individual agents are stationed throughout the Principalities of Glantri, and maintain a low profile (many have cover identities to divert attention away from them). When contact has been made with a potential customer, the agent's superior (he or she will only know other Black Tower members in the rank immediately above or below their own, and even so will only know a handful of individuals - often two or three at most) will send word of the job, and tell them the nature of the work, and where they must go. Once the job is completed, word will be sent to the supervisor, who then passes it up the line until those senior Black Tower members who are interested in the job have the information they need. In most cases, senior members are in charge of long-range planning for the organisation, identifying likely customers and overseeing operations as a whole. Inherent in such an organisation is discipline; the Black Tower does not tolerate disloyalty of any sort.

Adventure Hooks: PCs adventuring in Glantri could find themselves in the middle of a Black Tower operation in progress. One example would be an important NPC being attacked by mysterious assailants, who is ultimately saved by the PCs. Alternatively, prominent Glantrian PCs might learn of the Black Tower through the rumour mill, and either be offered the organisation's services, or be offered a chance to join (if they have the requisite skills). This latter option might not be suitable, due to the level of control the organisation exerts over its agents. Nonetheless, players who enjoy political intrigue and danger would likely be stimulated by a Black Tower-oriented campaign, in which they could try to influence or eliminate (if they are high-ranking members of the organisation) significant political players, or they could try to stay out of the Black Tower's grasp, trying to expose them.

 

Bureau 6

Base of Operations: Favaro, Republic of Darokin.

Symbol: None.

Number of Members: 100-150 members.

Organisational Structure: Hierarchy.

Political Outlook: Safeguarding Darokinian interests, and removal of political obstacles to them.

Types of Operations: Assassination of people deemed to be threats to Darokinian interests, espionage and counter-espionage, infiltration of wayward borderlands dominions and trading operations.

Allies: Darokinian Diplomatic Corps (though the DDC disavows any knowledge of Bureau 6).

Enemies: None at present, but any state or organisation which openly threatens Darokinian interests or security could be targeted in the future.

Background: Bureau 6 was founded at the same time as the Darokin Diplomatic Corps (DDC), and technically it is an appendage of the latter organisation - at least, that is how it would look on paper. To those who know Bureau 6, however, nothing could be farther from the truth. Recognising that diplomacy involves espionage to a certain degree, the Darokinian leadership allowed the DDC to fulfil the more public aspects of spying. To this day, most people who know the DDC and its operations well, also know that its officials have been known to "acquire" confidential foreign documents, "pressure" foreign officials through indirect means, and perform the other, more gentlemanly, duties associated with espionage. Where the DDC is the firm but gentle hand of Darokinian interests, Bureau 6 is the mailed fist.

Based in a series of catacombs beneath an unassuming inn located in Favaro, members of Bureau 6 train relentlessly, pore over documentation provided by the DDC, and equip themselves for their missions. They exercise extreme discipline in ensuring that no one learns of their existence, maintaining cover identities, and those agents on active duty never remain in one place for too long. Although technically loyal to the founding principles of the DDC, Bureau 6 involves itself heavily in the darker aspects of espionage: they will kidnap, interrogate, assassinate, and spy upon anyone deemed by the bureau's chief of operations (who consults regularly with the head of the DDC) to be a threat to Darokinian national interests, and infiltrate organisations thought to be threatening. Bureau 6 is also active domestically, keeping an eye on illicit trading and the activities of the various borderlands rulers (those who stray too far from the fold are brought to heel discreetly - usually evidence of illegal activities, obtained by the Bureau, is sufficient to blackmail them into "seeing the light"). Despite its activities, Bureau 6 is anything but fanatical; its operations are conducted discreetly, and always comply with the directives issued by the head of the DDC - at least in spirit.

Bureau 6 is organised as a typical hierarchical pyramid; the bulk of the organisation is comprised of operatives, who perform the various missions given to them. Above them are a handful of training staff and administrators, who ensure the agents are paid and receive the training they need. The head of Bureau 6, known only as the Chief, has his (or her - none on the middle- and lower-ranking members have ever seen this person) personal quarters and offices in the deeper recesses of the catacombs. All communications to and from the DDC passes through this person. Bureau 6 also employs a considerable network of paid informants, who serve as "eyes and ears" all around the nation, in order to obtain potentially valuable information, which might contribute to future operations. These willing helpers are located in every settlement of considerable size (usually anything with more than 500 inhabitants), and have been instructed to deliver messages to designated "visitors", who stop by regularly for news and other tips. These "visitors" are actually Bureau 6 operatives who are not on assignment or undergoing training at the moment; each agent is given a set of locations to visit for the purposes of information gathering (known among operatives as "doing the milk run"), and afterwards they report back to Favaro with what they have learned.

Adventure Hooks: Bureau 6, because it operates with a considerable degree of secrecy, is not likely to figure prominently in the lives of any PCs - unless they are operatives, of course. Nevertheless, Darokinian PCs may be approached by a nondescript stranger, bearing a small pouch of money, asking for their services as an informant. This would provide the DM with an opportunity to embroil the PCs in internal politicking and Bureau operations, or provide a means of having them join the organisation (if they are interested in doing so). Additionally, players involved in shady mercantile practices, or who are members of thieves' guilds, might become known to the Bureau through its network of informants, or through encounters with actual operatives. How things progress from there depends on the PCs' reactions, though any overt hostility (such as killing or uncovering an operative or informant) will likely result in assassination attempts.

A second means by which PCs could encounter Bureau 6 would be if they become dominion rulers in Darokin. While able to rule their own borderland dominions with relative impunity, PCs must still comply with the laws of the land. Should they begin to practice policies which run counter to the interests of Darokin as a whole, or should they exhibit more independence than would normally be tolerated from a dominion ruler, Bureau 6 could be called in to find some way to coerce them into becoming more co-operative.

 

Chainbreakers

Base of Operations: Alphatia.

Symbol: Half circles scraped into the ground with one's foot, representing the broken links of a chain.

Number of Members: Unknown (circa 15,000 members, large number of sympathizers).

Organisational Structure: Cell-like.

Political Outlook: Destruction of the Alphatian Empire, overthrowing the magocracy, revolutionary freedom. Replacement of the Alphatian Empire with independent ("liberated") Kingdoms governed by rulers selected by their ability & merit rather than a magocratic elite.

Types of Operations: Organising for "the revolution", resistance against Alphatian authority, banditry, assassination of cruel aristocrats and of "class traitors" (commoners loyal to Alphatian society).

Allies: None really, though the Society of Freemen sometimes co-operates with the Chainbreakers, their philosophies are too different for a real alliance. The Chainbreakers also sometimes get aid and support from foreign governments hostile to Alphatia, but again few of those can be called allies.

Enemies: Alphatian Imperial government, all Alphatian Kingdoms, just about every loyal Alphatian.

Background: The latest in a long line of unsuccessful slave "resistance movements" within Alphatia, the Chainbreakers claim to have existed for over a millennium, and to have been prominent in the uprisings and revolts that crippled Alphatia in the wake of the Thyatian revolution. Most people in the know doubt it has existed for so long, though they acknowledge that it and its predecessor organisations likely sprung up out of the ashes of successive survivors and remnants of previous, crushed revolutionary groups, and thus perhaps is distantly tied to the ancient movements that rose against Alphatia in the first century AC (11th Century AY).

The Chainbreakers form a very loosely organised group, scattered cells that keep in contact with each other through the "grapevine" of slaves who accompany travelling masters. They are constantly recruiting new members, but also constantly losing them to purges (both by Alphatians and internal purges) and counter-sedition efforts by the Alphatian governments and slaveowners, thus keeping their numbers from growing. Organisation members consider themselves a "vanguard", hoping to create a "revolutionary society", toppling the Alphatian system and replacing it with an egalitarian state where all property is owned "by the people" in common. Their philosophy is frankly collectivist, which prevents them from forging a strong alliance with the Society of Freemen.

The Chainbreakers are coldly ruthless, even among their own members. They frequently "purge" members who are suspected of being informants, and also those who fall out of favour or aren't considered "philosophically pure" for one reason or another. The leaders of the Chainbreakers claim these harsh measures are necessary because of the constant threat of infiltration and destruction of the organisation by Alphatian informants and "death squads", planted by the Securitate or New Alphatian Society, but they often also use these purges as a means to dispose of rivals for leadership, and its very easy to arrange "accidents" in the fields or mines.

The Chainbreakers organise "worker revolts" (usually small scale plantation or sweatshop uprisings, quickly and brutally suppressed), help slaves escape into the underground, arrange the murder of particularly hated masters and overseers, and plan for "the day", the "inevitable" revolutionary destruction of Alphatian society and creation of the "new, collectivist civilisation" on its ashes. There is more than a little indication that some of the members of the Chainbreakers worship, or are otherwise corrupted by, Alphaks.

Adventure Hooks: Adventurers who become appalled by the degradation and abjectly oppressive lot of slaves in Alphatia may come to sympathise with the Chainbreakers. They will soon come face to face with the dark underbelly of this "liberation movement", which isn't always heroic in its methods, and will then face a moral quandary. Actual membership in the group is highly dangerous. In addition to the internal political machinations, the authorities and slavemasters tend to consign captured members to unspeakable slow death by torture and magical experimentation, as a means of deterrence.

Characters linked to either the Chainbreakers or the Society of Freemen, either by membership or inclination, may seek to forge stronger bonds of co-operation between the two, and create a common "Popular Front" opposed to the magocratic ruling class of Alphatia. Doing so would be difficult, however, because though the Chainbreakers and the Society of Freemen have a common "revolutionary" interest (destruction of the Alphatian status quo), their philosophies are almost diametrically opposed. The Chainbreakers are strongly opposed to private property (since they are themselves considered "private property" of their owners), while the Society of Freemen want stronger protections for private property (especially by non-spellcasters) than Alphatia has ever known. The Chainbreakers propound "popular justice" (sometimes known as "revolutionary justice"), while the Society of Freemen are in favour of the "rule of law" (and such concepts as "equal justice under the law"). These are only some of the basic differences that make a firm alliance between the two difficult. In addition, on an operational level the Chainbreakers see the members of the Society of Freemen as unwilling to take the personal risks necessary for the "advancement of the revolutionary cause."

Probably the majority of Alphatia's slaves are in sympathy with the Chainbreakers, and hope for the "day of revolution" themselves, but only a hardened, dedicated core group become "members of the vanguard" and actively join. This is the group counted in the "members" figure above.

 

The Chosen of Jaibul

Base of Operations: Somewhere in Jaibul.

Symbol: None known.

Number of Members: 80-150 members.

Organisational Structure: Network.

Political Outlook: Protection and promotion of Jaibul's interests, expanding the slave and drug market.

Types of Operations: Espionage, infiltration of rival slave trading rings and hostile merchant houses, sabotaging efforts directed against Jaibul's interests, smuggling of slaves and narcotics, sponsoring of piracy.

Allies: Hule.

Enemies: Sind, Minrothaddan merchant houses, rival slave traders throughout the Known World (except the Iron Ring).

Background: The Chosen of Jaibul have been active since the Black Rajah first assumed control of this former mumlyket of Sind, and some believe it had long been in existence even before then. Operating alongside those few traders from Jaibul who ply the Sea of Dread, the Chosen serve as both the Black Rajah's eyes and ears, and as an agency to procure slaves for the nation's markets, and to sell the various narcotics produced and refined in Jaibul for consumption abroad. As most nations of the Known World do not formally practice slavery, and some have even outlawed it, Jaibul realises that the Iron Ring, and similar groups, cannot meet the demand for illicit slaves - particularly exotic ones. Owing in large part to its proximity to Yavdlom and other "foreign" locales (at least, they are considered foreign by many Known Worlders), Jaibul, despite its growing image as a "pariah state", is well-situated to service such desires.

In their operations, the Chosen of Jaibul descend upon remote communities in Yavdlom, the Sind Desert, the Thanegioth Archipelago, and even areas west of the Serpent Peninsula to acquire captives for later sale. The Chosen do not discriminate; they will capture whomever they think could capture a good price, from humans of various ethnicities, to brawny lizard men and troglodytes living on remote islands, to jungle orcs and their ilk. Nonhuman captives are often sold for use in private gladiatorial arenas, thus the Jaibulians tend to prefer strong males. Otherwise, they are perfectly content to abduct young men and women. While "legitimate" trade in slaves is carried out by the tiny Jaibulian merchant fleet, the Chosen operate the shadier side of this industry, though they maintain some involvement in the "legitimate" side. Using their connections with merchants in Jaibul and points abroad, they have devised numerous, ingenious ways by which slaves can be brought into a nation undetected. Those nations which still permit slavery (officially or not) pose no such problem; the Chosen (along with the Jaibulian merchant counterparts) conduct business in those countries with few restrictions.

One odd aspect of the Chosen's operations is that, contrary to most expectations, they are not in opposition to the Iron Ring, as they are with other slave traders. This is mainly out of a recognition that the latter organisation is well entrenched in Karameikos, and that the effort required to wrest control of the Karameikan slave market away from them would be too costly, given the market's size as a whole. Thus, there is a sort of "gentleman's agreement" between the two - neither group with interfere in the affairs of the other. Other, less organised slave trading rings, however, are not so fortunate; many have already been infiltrated by the Chosen of Jaibul, and information concerning planned shipments and the like is sometimes leaked to the authorities - with predictable results - while Jaibulian slave traders seem to miraculously avoid such crackdowns.

Slave trading is not the Chosen's only operation; officially, the organisation serves the Black Rajah as a spy network, observing the commercial goings-on of surrounding nations, and through that, and through gaining information from foreign merchants and clients, what is going on politically in those nations. As merchants are unobtrusive enough to gain information quickly and cheaply, this was chosen as the ideal means of gaining intelligence - at least, until more formal spy rings can be set up. The Chosen also control Jaibul's lucrative drug market - trafficking in opium, hashish, pipeweed, and other drugs. Although too expensive for the average person, these drugs, acquired from Yavdlom, northern Davania, and the Thanegioth Archipelago, are enjoyed by some of the idle rich, who have established contacts with the Jaibulians to acquire their "secret pleasures" at exorbitant prices.

The Chosen are organised as a network; members operate as they see fit (so long as they follow the Black Rajah's directives), and pass along any useful information they obtain to fellow members through prearranged signals and secret meetings. Their only real line of accountability is to the Black Rajah himself - through his magical powers, he is able to contact them at will, in order to give out orders or to summon them back to Jaibul to report fully on their activities.

Adventure Hooks: The most likely way players will encounter the Chosen of Jaibul is if they find themselves enmeshed in one of the organisation's plots. If this is the case, the PCs can uncover almost any type of illegal activity, although their lives will be in danger should they make any overt attempt to contact the relevant authorities of their discovery. The resources employed by the Chosen in the pursuit of their duties are considerable, and the backing of the Black Rajah is not something to disregard - undesirables could find themselves poisoned (the preferred means of eliminating opponents), assassinated, or abducted. Alternatively, PCs might be singled out by the Chosen as being convenient dupes: A "friendly" foreign (that is, Jaibulian) merchant would approach them, promising a wonderful business or adventure opportunity, only to frame them for a crime (thus drawing attention away from the Chosen's own activities) - for example, by surreptitiously planting drugs on the PCs' persons, and then alerting the authorities.

Anyone involved in trade on the Sea of Dread may also run afoul of the Chosen of Jaibul. If the Chosen feel that PC (or NPC) merchants might encroach too closely upon their slaving or narcotic operations, they may incite local pirates (or brigands already hired by Hule to destabilise the region) to attack the prospective interlopers. Either way, encountering the Chosen of Jaibul is one way to expose PCs to the dark underbelly of mercantile trade in the Sea of Dread region.


continued



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Copyright 2001, Geoff Gander and James Ruhland. Used by permission. All rights reserved.