The Dark City
The Dark City has ended and a new chapter unfolds in The Brooding City
The Game The Dark City is a homebrew campaign in the D&D 3.5 system. It ended many months ago for the new campaign mention above. A new Play by Post is also being run called Dark City: The Guild War which takes place between the time the players had travel through a portal to Heros End and did not return until five years later.
The City of Thieves or Dark City Campaign is under the premise that player play stealthy and skill based characters to achieve the adventure objectives. While other types of characters can be played in the campaign, the majority of the plots involve thinking and guile by the PC’s as they interact with political and religious foes of both spectrums of good and evil. The game is character driven and allows PC’s to develop their character as a personality rather than a icon of the Players play style.
To emphasize the stealth nature of the game PC’s at times will undergo challenges that may be way above the normal CR level in combat. In addition, because of the incentive of the players is money, larger amounts of treasure is to be gain by the PC’s when they pull jobs off. To balance the money increase, most magic items can be purchased to customize the character’s needs. A limit on the ownership and the buying of such items is determined by experience level.
This orginally game started with only two players: Gar the Gnome Bard and Rowen the Elven Rogue/Druid. Later, the halfling Rogue Milo and much later the Dwarf Fighter Frokor. At it’s peek the group had been joined by Alanis the human Wizard/Rogue and Yoshi the Tempest.
Of the original group, only Milo remains. Gar has gone to claim his fathers inheritance and Rowen has joined the leadership circle of the Druids. Milo was part of the Thieves Guild special task-force once led by co-captains Alanis and the Tracker known as Treela.
Treela and Frokor perished and Alanis had given up on the current mission. Yoshi also has left the group but has been replaced by a Gnome beguiler Tiberius with a promise of booty.
A new group that has been financed by Gar was shadowing the task force and now have joined with the remaining members to complete the mission in the Emerald Enigma.
The last group consisted of:
Milo Halfling Rogue 10/Shadowdancer 2 Tiberius Gnome Beguiler 9/Mindbender 2 Tasavil Mordifus Dwarf Dragon Shaman 10 Skirling Gnome Ninja 10 Kailey Human Bard 4/Spirit Shaman 5 (who was replaced by) Jordan Elf Ranger 5/Abolisher 3/Beast Master 1
The Final Chapters of the Emerald Enigma lead to the Masters completeing their mission and taking over the city. Actions taken by the players led to changing of events in the next Campaign.
Currently the base level of the game is EL 10. There are few limitations:
1) You must have at least four level of a core “Rogue based class”. Rogue based class is any that have Hide and move silently as core skills: that includes rogues, rangers, bards, monks, spell theives, scouts, ninja, some Dragon Shamans, and Beguilers.
2) You may multiclass into any other core or prestige class. No prefered class restrictions (i.e. XP penalty
3) No evil Alignment
4) Use DMG equipment rules for equiping PC. Use equiptment only found in the allowed books.
5) Create a character using 28pt base scores.
6) Core only races
7) Books Allowed: PHB, PHB2, DMG, splat books complete Adventurer, Divine, Warrior, Arcane, and Scoundrel. In addition I allow the Libris Mortis and Lords of Madness.
8) Choose one Guild you are Affiliated with (see below)
The city police forces do enforce laws when not manipulated by Lords and bribes from the Guilds. The laws applies only to the city. The Laws are complex and vague in several ways but do have basic tenants that affect the characters in the following:
1. Stealing. Punishment by Fine and Imprisonment Crimes against the citizenry of the city are unlawful. Pickpockets, taffers, and thugs are thrown in prison when caught and fined.
2. Murder: Punishment by Death. The act of killing someone is against the law. The law does not recognize self defense (it’s easier to throw all troublemakers in the jail.) Murderers are usually later executed if they fail to convince a judge for leniency or contrary evidence. Monsters are exempt from the protection of the law. Bounties that are for dead or alive are also exempt in some cases.
3. Trespassing: Punishment by Fine or Imprisonment. Which includes not having the correct paperwork for being in a particular place. Moving at night under city curfew without papers can be hazardous if caught.
4. Guilt by Association: Punishment by Imprisonment Sometimes it’s who you know or associate with that can get you thrown into jail. High ranks in the Thieves Guild make you a target by the police trying to score policy points. Associating with a known murder can make you a target or even with a Lord who might fall out of favor.
5. Outstanding Warrants/Bounties: If you manage to escape punishment for a crime you effectively have a warrant for your arrest. Law officials and law-abiding citizens then will try to get you if you are recognized. A bounty can be placed on your head in which anyone can collect for your location, capture or death. Once you have paid fine, secure release or served sentence the warrant or bounty is removed.
THE GUILDS AND THEIR LAWS
The Guilds police themselves in regard for those practicing their craft outside of their jurisdiction. The Wizard’s guild will actively target any non-member practicing magic, the Thieves Guild goes after those doing jobs not sanctioned by the Guild, the Church of Aarth will deemed those worshipping old gods as heretics, and the Druid circle may go after Sorcerers and Druids who are not part of their cause.
WHAT ARE GUILDS
A guild is the major institution which characters have an affiliation. The Following is a list of Guilds in the city. The guilds have been adapted from the Fritz Lieber Lankhmar setting and have been altered to fit the City Campaign. Though this is a rogues campaign, characters need not be part of the Thieves Guild.
A Character will choose one major guild they will attempt to gain membership and prestige in. Characters need not be part of any guild or seek office but the game does revolve around the guilds and membership will have advantages to the characters. Ultimately the characters are self-made and do not hold their loyalty to the guilds for they are tools for the characters.
Benefit of a Guild While in a Guild a PC gains a +1 Guild Bonus to a chosen skill every 3 levels. For example: a 4th Level Character of the Thieves Guild could have a +1 sleight of Hand and a +1 to open locks or a+2 to either of the three main skills.
Guild Dues To maintain membership in the Guild a PC must spend 10x level per month in Gold to keep the Guild Bonus. PC that don’t pay are still part of the Guild but lose the bonus.
The Thieves Guild
The largest guild and most powerful under the overlords. All jobs must be sanctioned by the guild less a free-lance thief finds himself at odds with the guild. The percentages of loot (sometimes as high as 70%) is grossly unfair and that is why many choose to work outside the guild for bigger profits-at their own risk. The guild is also very strict on rules of membership including Human males. This guild offers “protection” to anyone with money, but merchants first and foremost. Anyone trafficking in goods would do well to pay the thieves’ guild to keep their merchandise safe. This has a certain benefit for merchants as they know who to go to if things don’t go as planned. After all, the thieves want the merchants to prosper so that the protection money keeps flowing.
Skills: Sleight of Hand, Open Locks, Disable Device
The Beggars Guild: Beggars and Urchins The beggars and urchins are controlled by the Beggar Master. Not every beggar is cripple as some fake their infliction. The beggar network is a fast moving source of information o what is going on in the streets and their lack of any attention paid to them make them excellent spies on the outside of dwellings and in the streets. All begging must be sanction by the guild-many do not refuse.
Skills: Gather Information, Disguise, Knowledge (Local)
The Extortion’s Guild: Professional intimidator This Affiliation garners the character’s income through intimidation to pay debts or for extortion schemes. Used by the moneylenders and gambling dens to collect from commoners. Members have access to information on persons or organizations secrets and who is paying for what.
Skills: Sleight of Hand, Open Locks, Disable Device
The Fraternity of Fences Merchants of stolen property, usually with pawn shops or gambling houses as their front operations. Members of this Affiliations can pawn off more stolen goods and at a premium price. They also run the gambling halls.
Skills: Appraise, Diplomacy, Sense Motive
The House of Pain: Torturers and executioners (Evil Only) Either hired by the Government or individuals to extort information via torture.
Skills: Intimidate, Heal, Sense Motive
ALLIES: Starsman and Navigator’s Guild ENEMIES: Merchants Guild, The Overlords, The Church of Aarth, House of Red Lantrens
The Merchant’s consortium deals in money and raw goods, each in the largest quantities possible. They pay the taxes and bring in the goods that everyone needs in their day-to-day lives. They are the second most powerful guild in The City. Members are given discounts on wholesale items, can locate hard to find items and information on recent business transactions. Characters may also have a side business as legitimate or a front.
Moneylenders’ Guild: Moneychangers and investors. Money Changer Members are in the business of banking and lending money and investment-this includes creative accounting. Members are given opportunity to invest at a advantage or lend money as needed.
Skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Profession, Sense Motive
Jewellers’ Guild: This guild consists of the buyers and sellers of gems and jewelry. They play the slippery game between the fences and the merchants.
Skills: Appraise, Profession, Diplomacy, Sense Motive
Whitesmiths’ Guild: Workers of precious metal Source for gem cutting and materials.
Skills: Appraise, Profession, Craft (jewelry)
ALLIES: The Overlords ENEMIES: The Thieves Guild
The Slayer’s Brotherhood
The bounty hunters’ and assassins’ guild based in The City. They actively hunt down anyone for a price. Freelance bounty hunters advertising similar services are offered membership (for an annual fee). This is an offer that most cannot refuse. Some City watch may be part of this Guild. (Includes All types of fighters, rangers, barbarians-any hired muscle)
Skills: Intimidate, Search, Spot, Listen, Sense Motive
ALLIES: House of Red Lanterns ENEMIES: None
Craftsman Guilds The craftsmen Guild is several Guild one-for purposes of usefulness characters have connections to all the guilds when using the services.
Tailors’ Guild: Fashioners of fine clothing, footwear, and luggage. Members have access to good materials and craftsmen at discount prices. In addition, they are an excellent source of authentic clothing for disguise like temple robes, noble’s clothes (which are not suitable to adventure or thieves), and masterwork pieces to infuse magic.
Skills: Profession (Tailor), Craft (Tailor), Appraise
Blacksmith’s Guild: The mainstay of any large empire is its metallurgists and blacksmiths. The Blacksmith’s guild holds a lot of power because they are used directly by the overlord to outfit his army and their mounts. Members are given steady work, good materials, and expert craftsmen. The blacksmiths include silver smiths and other non-weapon and device items.
Skills: Craft (Blacksmith), Profession (Blacksmith), Appraise
The Artificer’s Guild: Inventors The Artificers make all mechanical devices including siege engines. Information about certain devices created in the city like Locks and traps is also available.
Skills: Craft (Varies), Profession (Varies), Appraise
Armorers: Weapons and Armor crafters: All weapons and armor allows good material access, expert craftsmen and discounts.
Skills: Craft (Varies), Profession (Varies), Appraise
ALLIES: The Merchants Guild ENEMIES: None
The Society of Joyous and Sorrowful Comedians, Rapturous Play actors, Graceful Dancers, and Melodious Songsters (Entertainers Guild)
Entertainers are very plentiful, and many people see this as a good alternative to more backbreaking labor. They have managed to expand their enterprises when things are slow, becoming professional couriers and lawyers as well.
_Skills: Perform (Varies), Profession, Tumble, Disguise _
Animal Handler’s Guild: Animal Trainers, grooms, and Hawkers. One of the Overlord’s favorites. They have access to exotic animals and beast at reduced cost and provide animal training.
Skills: Perform (Varies), Handle Animal, Knowledge(Nature)
Heralds’ and Messenger’s Guild: small but well used guild. Uses codes and memory to great effect. The messengers have access to government and commercial places in the guise of messengers. They have a network of information gathering.
Skills: Perform (Varies),Decipher Script, Knowledge (Local), Profession
House of Pleaders: Lawyers and Lobbyists. Usually experts at bribery. The members have access to judges and rulers in the city. They have notary abilities for contracts, can appear before the court as an agent and some limited access to jails.
Skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Knowledge (Local), Profession
ALLIES:The Thinkers Fraternity, The Overlords ENEMIES: The Wizards Guild, The Church of Aarth
Masons Guild Includes Laborer, stonecutter and carpenters that are used to build and upkeep the city.
Stonemason’s Guild: Those who work in stone build the foundations of empires. The Stonemason’s are comprised off all manner of sculptors, engineers, and machinists who work in stone.
Skills: Craft (Varies), Profession (Varies), Knowledge (Dungeoneering) Appraise
Architect’s Guild: Designers of floorplans and structures. Long ago, it was made official that any building in City over 1 story or with more than 4 rooms had to have a floorplan designed by the architects guild. (Knowledge ranks 4 in Architecture) Members have Access to house plans including secret passages of city buildings.
Skills: Craft (Varies), Profession (Varies), Knowledge (Architecture), Appraise
Carpenter’s Cadre: Workers of wood, carpenters are required on any project, even those of the Architects Guild, to build wooden structures and equipment. Due to their assimilation of the Wainwrights long ago, they are also the transporters and day-laborers of The City.
Skills: Craft (Varies), Profession (Varies), Knowledge (Architecture), Appraise
Wainwright’s Guild: Wagon and Carriage Builders (Craft Wainwright/wagons) Cost reduction on wagon purchase and repair.
Skills: Craft (Varies), Profession (Varies), Knowledge (Local), Handle Animal
Toters’ and Carters’ Guild: Land-based movers. Can provide transport and moving of cargo.
Skills: Craft (Varies), Profession (Varies), Knowledge (Local), Use Rope
ALLIES: The Merchants Guild ENEMIES: None
Starsman and Navigator’s Guild: Sailors and Shipmasters
The Starsman and Navigator’s Guild dominates trade across the Inner and Eastern Seas. No sailor will work on ship without a member of this guild at the helm. This guild also controls the docks. Access to the docks and moving through the area without being exposed make this Guild easy to escape authorities and leave town if needed.
Skills: Craft (Shipbuilding), Profession (Sailor), Knowledge (Local), Knowledge (Navigation), Use Rope
ALLIES: The Merchants Guild ENEMIES: none
Fellowship of Physicians Medical Science in the City is not advanced, but skilled physicians are well respected for their proper understanding of ailments and the common (ala non-magical) remedies for them. Access to healers, materials and other non-potion/balm healing items.
Skills: Profession (Healer), Heal, Knowledge (Nature)
Order of Apothecaries: Drugists and Herbalists Ability to purchase potions at reduced cost and access to alchemist labs.
Skills: Craft (Alchemy), Profession (Healer), Heal
Embalmers’ Guild: Grave Diggers, Pall Bearers, embalmers, and funeral choreographers. Access to news of the recent departed, tomb locations, and holy water (the church is not so free to give it out).
Skills: Spellcraft, Profession (Embalmer), Heal
ALLIES: The Thinkers Fraternaty ENEMIES: Wizard’s Guild, Church of Aarth
Thinker’s Fraternity A guild of scholars and historians, bent upon preserving histories and lore through the ages. This guild is not wealthy in the slightest, but runs the only university in The City and provides nobles with schooling for their children should they need it.
Skills: Spellcraft, Profession (Scholar), Knowledge (Varies)
Scribe’s Guild: Record keepers and official documentaries. No official function occurs without a scribe present to record the event, no matter how silly or trivial.
Skills: Spellcraft, Profession (Scholar), Decipher Script
Astrologers’ Consortium: Diviners and soothsayers. The leader of this guild is usually the Overlord’s personal astrologer, and they have influence because of that. Excellent archives for research.
Skills: Spellcraft, Knowledge (Astrologer), Decipher Script
ALLIES: the Overlords, The Society of Joyous and Sorrowful Comedians ENEMIES: Wizard’s Guild, Church of Aarth
Wizard’s Guild Hated and feared by most of the citizenry of City, the Wizard’s guild handles the unnatural. They are not easy to contact, as their guild house remains closed at all times, day or night, and no one goes in or out. Not even the Beggars Guild know who all the members of this guild are. It is not uncommon for a guild member to perform his duties in a mask to hide his identity, in much the same way as an executioner. The Wizards are divided by the magic school they choose to specialize-naturally there is rivalry. The Wizards are a prejudice group with little tolerance for non-spell casters, Sorcerers, Clerics, Druids, and Bards. But that doesn’t mean they tolerate magic outside of their guild either and many of young wizard has felt the wrath of disobeying the wizard’s Guild harsh restrictions. As member you have access to spell casting, spell research, scrolls, some magic items and hard to find magic ingredients.
Skills: Spellcraft, Knowledge (Arcane), Use Magic Item
ALLIES: None ENEMIES: Followers of the Oaken Circle, Church of Aarth, Thinkers Fraternity
House of Red Lanterns The least influential guild in City is the whore’s and courtesan’s guild. It is mentioned because it has resisted assimilation by other guilds for so long, and has probably existed longer than any other. Prostitution outside of this house is frowned upon and every attempt is made to bring a freelance courtesan into the fold. The current agreement with the thieves Guild is that the women of the Guild are forbidden from performing the functions of the thieves guild (by no means is the sexism of this not apparent.)
Skills: Bluff, Sense Motive, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Knowledge (Nobility)
ALLIES: The Slayers Brotherhood, Starmans Navigational, Masons Guild, The Society of Joyous and Sorrowful Comedians ENEMIES: The Thieves Guild
The Church of Aarth
The church itself is not only the guilded house of worship at the north most end of the Street of the Gods, but also a network of sooth-ayers, sages, scribes, and scholars who are consulted by people of high station and low for council. Most of these learned individuals are priests of Aarth and command a variable degree of ability with divination. This is part of the Church network and is not reflected of the various temples to the Saints.
Skills: Spell Craft, Knowledge (Religion), Knowledge (The Planes) Heal
ALLIES: The Overlords ENEMIES: Followers of the Oaken Circle, Thieves Guild, Wizards Guild, Fraternity of Thinkers, Fellowship of Physicians
SPECIAL NOTE: Player Characters need not be clerics to be members of the church. The church also accepts devoted worshipers with “unique” skills which the High Counsel always finds uses for. Characters that choose a divine class will be associated to the Church and each individual a gains his/her domain powers from the various Saints under the Churches Mythos. Citizens make tributes to their Patron Saints that encompass their Domains. The Character becomes a Follower of that Saint. The Saints are all of Different Alignments and at times fighting for power with the church. From the Different followers a few are chosen on the High Counsel and one from the High counsel is chosen to be the High Priest or Priestess.
Paladins do exist under the Church of Aarth but they are exclusively for NPCs. Playing a Paladin in a world of Thieves makes no sense and will become an adversary in the future.
Some Notable Saints:
St. Elisa(Healing and Protection) This Church was destroyed by Half-Feindish Gaunts that slew the clerics and Paladins some 15 years ago. Rowen had found the fable staff of St. Elasis and with the assistance of Gar and later Milo found the last Paladins of the church. The group learned of a prophecy of bringing St. Elsia back from the dead (his mortal Body) to fulfil the prophecy he would become the new head of the Church of Aaath. The Church has been growing and establishing anew force of paladins and clerics.
St Bamus (Destruction and War) This church has a ancient rivalry with the Theives Guilds patron Saint St. Jackdawyl. Jackdwly would steal things from Bamus causing him to become enraged. His weapon of use is the great hammer-large 2-handed hammers wielded by his clerics that enjoy smiting and sundering their opponents and their weapons. Rowan and Gar had to rescue Garrick once from the temple when he was used to ignite a new blood fued between the Guild and the Temple by Deena, Preistess of the House of Red Lanterns. Garricks’ old aquatints, Hurgmot had stolen St. Baumus’ Golden Mask and the angry God turned Garrick into stone. Gar managed to convince the God not to destroy the City and retrieved the mask from Hurgmot. Rowens Cousin, Raven joined them in retrieving the mask but lost her life in the battle.
St.Steffanso (Strength and Earth) The clerics of this order must follow a strict height requirement of 6ft plus. They tend to have very few worshippers and live in squalled conditions. Gar had conned the church in giving him money and into threatening a Kolbold-dragonspawn that had joined their group for a brief time. However, the church members made the mistake of raiding a kolbold shrine in the city and were wiped out. St. Steffanso angered by this, forced Gar to find him twelve new converts or become a cleric of his order. Gar fulfilled his bargain and found the church new members through a recruitment performance featuring a dance by Bobo the Pig eater dressed as a daffodil and Milo as the Bee.
St. Geneieve (Summoning and Trickery) One of the few female saints, St. Genive is the patron saint of prostitutes and those that work in the sexual companion business. One of her most prominent priestess, Deana was killed when Gar and Rowen raided her hideout to retrieve the Golden mask of St. Bamus she stole in hopes of the igniting a war between the church and the Thieves Guild.
St. Cathay of the Vines (Plant and Destruction) The temple of St. Cathay believes in the Divine powers of conquering with the vines. The Saint was known to control vines in his conquests of the heathen that once inhabited the city. The church is tall and covered in ivy. In the altar area is a giant stalk of vine that is the source of the vines.
St. Desina (Air and War) patron saint of the Elves of wind and war.
St. Huffrey (Law and Earth) Worshippers of Huffrey tend to be Dwarves. Lord Beezals (Despite being evil) and his family had given much to the Church over the generations making it very prosperous despite being paid for by the work of slaves.
St. Ramoreuz is actually an elaborate Illusion created bt the Masters that clouds persons minds and gives them the background in their memory of the churches history.This included an illusion of the church that hid the Masters lair. When the Masters abanndon their base the illusion ended. It is unknown if there ever was a St. Ramoreuz.
St. Aquinas (Water and Protection) patron saint of the sailors and fishermen.
St. Cahasta (Water Destruction) a vengful sanit of storms and sea travel. Many theologians dispute whether St. Cahasta really is a Saint and not some old God in guise.
St. Jensive(Animals and Air) a Saint of Animals and Air,
St. Caldova: Patron Saint of Gamblers (Trickery and Luck) A favorite of lower class and high officials. An artifact associated with him is the Cube of Square dealing which he used to gamble others souls.
St. Jackdawyl(Luck and Trickery) Most Thieves Guild members worship this trickster Saint.
The place where monks are trained are usually followers of one particular Saint. Since the Monasteries have no real influence on the Church or in the city a Monk character is not automatically an affiliate of the Church. Any character can enter a monastery to seek sanctuary from the law or from a rival Saint. The High Church has final control over the Monastery in regards to sanctuary (though very rarely has it interfered with the workings of a Monastery). The Church likewise will protect a Monastery if attacked by another Guild openly. Other means are available to those Guilds to penetrate the law. The Monastaries are here to provide free training Monk characters if they are part of the eastern tradition.
Skills: Decipher Script, Knowledge (Religion), Knowledge (The Planes) Heal
Followers of the Oaken Circle Before the city was erected Druids and Sorcerers inhabited the lands aiding the Barbarian tribes. They were conquered by the overlords which resulted in the lost of their culture and beliefs. The few that maintain the traditions live in secret. The druids are the “Nobility ” of the Order setting up groves and special sacred places in the City and outskirts to practice their Traditions. The Sorcerers are what are left of the shamantic spiritual guides. Unlike the Druids that seek balance, the Sorcerers take what they need from the energy of the earth and spirit world to do their bidding. The Sorcerers act as free agents outside the Druid Order. (Some believe quite conveniently as it allows The Order to used them to do their dirty business). Druids and Sorceres are considered Heretics by the Church. Sorcerers find wizards, who tap the same power, to be weak and inhuman.
Some 20 years ago the Thief Garrick served as a trainer for the Circle in creating agents to infiltrate the city for various missions. Rowen and Treela were both trained under Garrick in the force but Treela left the circle to join the Thieves Guild.
Currently the Druid Circle has split into another group. The Fey Resistance is a group of elves and other members of the Druidc Circle broke off to become a militant organization bent on overthrowing the Overlord.
Skills: Knowledge (Nature), Handle Animal, Heal
ALLIES: None ENEMIES: The Overlords, The Wizards Guild, The Church of Aarth
The Overlords The overlords are the rulers of the highest degree. They are typically titles passed down from generation to generation and represent the highest authorities in their respective District They do not sponsor groups directly, having entire militias at their disposal, but they play a key role as to which nobles, merchants, and wizards can maintain a good sponsorship and where. Characters can be recognized by lords, for good or bad, and given titles. However, the character loses some of his stealth in the process.
Skills: Knowledge (Nobility), Knowledge (Local), Diplomacy, Gather Information, Profession
ALLIES: Merchants Guild ENEMIES: The Thieves Guild, Followers of the Oaken Circle
NOTES: Characters can work their way through the political system but for simplicity purposes cannot a) hold office b) hold a government job or post c) Obtain a seat on the Counsel of Lords. This would be contrary to the theme of the campaign. But they influence others much more easily.
PRESTIGE GUILDS In addition to listed Guilds are the Prestige Guilds. They are branches of elite members in the City that dwell in specific areas of the master guilds. Only characters that take Prestige Classes of that guild may join it. There is no Affiliation score in these Guilds for office is determined by the level of the individuals in the Prestige Class. There are no special abilities or bonuses given by these Guilds other than what is stated in the Descriptions (the ability to advance in the Prestige Class is the bonus.) Descriptions of these Guilds are in the Complete Adventurer and are modified for this campaign to take place in the City.