As should be clear from the last few posts, in addition to the normal game sessions, I will occasionally take folks aside in email or in person to handle “off-screen” details. It may be blue-booking like below, or it may simply be some basic solo adventuring to figure out a couple of things, but especially when I have two people Skyping in from out-of-state, I prefer to use “table-time” for actual gaming rather other stuff. This is slightly adapted text of the email that I sent out as the last intersessionary update as to what had happened:
Gryphon is able to get all of you (via a couple of trips) to the city of Snell, a smaller inland city of a few thousand inhabitants on the eastern border of the Grand Duchy of Soahc. While not as fine or grand or ultimately as exciting as Aos, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Soahc, it is as a busy trade center mostly concerned with mundane goods and services (unlike Aos, which concerns itself with the exotic and the magical as much as possible).
That is, of course, if you are interested. Pretty much all of you (except Gryphon!) went up two levels in Thief and would like some decent training in the appropriate skills and whatnot. Of course, this does require joining the Black Masks Thieves Guild (or at least, this thieves guild for the moment) – these are the folks with the knowledge and the skills (and the equipment) that most of you are seeking and they aren’t going to hand it out to just anyone. Joining is easy, it merely costs 100sp, though the dues (which are immediately assessed) are another 100sp per your current level.
The benefits are pretty obvious. You have a place to get training (though it will cost), and in this town you have the contacts to fence stolen goods of most goods, plus a place to buy rogue-specific equipment. You’ll also have some contacts for selling stolen goods through fences, and anything else that might be appropriate for the Thieves Guild. You also all get an official black silk mask that you may wear on job to obscure your identity, and you all get tattooed with a small black mask somewhere on your body (your choice). You also get access to legal advocates in the event that you get caught and need legal defense, and the Black Masks and the Black Rose Society (the Assassin’s Guild) have a mutual “hands-off” policy.
The requirements are that you give a cut of 10% of the value of all your stolen goods (or monies) to the Guild if stolen within its area of operations. This is essentially most of the GRand Duchy of Soahc as well as the surrounding area, though if there is any question it’s usually best to just hand the Guild it’s cut and be done with it. You also agree not to steal from people and businesses under guild protection, and that you will also do your best to aid other guild members in need. I suppose that I can come up with actual bylaws, but those are the high points that really get emphasized. They also mention that, at times, members may be offered “opportunities” by the leadership of the Guild. You are all left the impression that turning down these “opportunities” isn’t very optional. You are also all supposed to operate under the “guidance” of more senior members of the Black Masks when they offer “advice”.
Pretty much the folks in the Black Masks that you know at the moment are: “Black” Stillson, the Lieutenant who took your oaths; Andraa, the owner of the Boarshead Inn (a front for the guild); “Blind Lew”, a beggar who can get messages to the Guild; Rueben, a kind of beefy Guild enforcer; Paulus, a gray trader (fence); and Blackburne, the rather attractive female training master of the Guild.
What was really interesting is that KB, the guy playing Ketzl, decided that he wanted to go in another direction with his character. Ketzl is gnome, and not exactly super-interested in getting all involved in human guilds and politics – and more importantly is a noble and really doesn’t think of himself as a “thief” exactly (especially a tattoo..? How déclassé)… That said, he did recognize the need to play nice with the Thieves Guild and proposed some sort of other arrangement.
I thought about it a bit, and nodded. The Thieves Guild certainly would recognize the existence of “gentleman rogues” who while not exactly embodying the “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” of the Guild would have reason to do business with the seamier side of the common trades, and perhaps even have need of a gray trader at times. So, while there is a “gentleman-sized” fee for the privilege. Basically the “gentleman rogues” merely pay 200sp per level and will pay extra for all sorts of services. Plus they still pretty much have to obey all the guild rules and get very little in the way of guild benefits – but it keeps the peace with the adventurers that don’t want to get embroiled in local politics but also don’t want to get in trouble for doing their thing as well.
It’s been awhile since I had so many different people playing thieves all at the same time. It’s kind of fun actually, and really does rather neatly create an interesting balance against the very Lawful Good and highly religious members of the party.