Dining on Ashes
Many criminal organizations in Ludheim and across Vorel take colorful names to distinguish themselves: the Black Truncheon Gang, the Three-Score-Killers, the Brass Knucklers. Ludheim’s most powerful, however, is known simply as the Thieves Guild. Not restricted to larceny, the Guild has its hands in protection, racketeering, drugs, prostitution, smuggling, and murder-for-hire. Thieves Guild culture is heavily flavored by the city-states in the southern and eastern parts of Vorel, but today includes members and influences in all races and walks-of-life. To foster exclusivity and cover illegal activity, the Guild has its own vocabulary and manner-of-speaking. This “Thieves Cant” can be heard from counting houses to back alleys.
The Guild operates under a hierarchical organization, commonly called a “family” or “famille”. At the bottom rung are the “pugs” or “toads”, associates, but not members of the Guild. This includes informants, petty criminals, and Watchmen on the take. Above them are the gang’s soldiers and workers, the “Sharpers” or “Sharps”. Sharpers form into crews, usually of about six to twelve members, under the leadership of a Magsman. The Magsmen then report to a Patron Dessous, the number two man in the gang, who answers to the boss, or Patron.
Ludheim has several Patrons. A Patron’s authority is varied. Some concentrate in a particular District, other focus on a type of crime. Yet others stretch across these boundaries. All, however, answer to the Contessa. She is the “boss of bosses”, the preeminent crime lord of the city, and keeps herself shrouded in mystery. It is said that a copper out of every ill-gotten gold piece in Ludheim ends up in her pocket. It is said she sits on the Council, or at least her puppet does. It is said she does not exist at all; just a bogeyman story the Patrons use to keep control. Whatever the truth, the Thieves Guild is responsible for the most purses cut and throats slit in all of Ludheim.
- Thieves Cant is available as a Language. It can also be attempted to decipher using the Linguistics skill.
- Titles and slang are a combination of bad French translations, first edition AD&D class level names, and stuff I think sounds good.
- Little Known Fact: The Three-Score-Killers gang does not refer to the number of members in the gang, but rather the number of operas written.