Council of Thieves - Libby
The Rebel Hideout
When Arael first came to Westcrown several years ago, he was distraught at the condition of the city’s abandoned shrines to Aroden. Nowhere else, he thought, had the corruption and fall of the once proud empire of Cheliax more blatantly exposed its shame than here. The ascendancy of Asmodeus-worship (even if just lip service) has discouraged many people from public worship of other gods, leading to some temples closing as their followers stopped attending, prayed at home, or changed to other churches. This shrine to Aroden, like many others throughout Westcrown, isn’t technically abandoned—it belongs to the church of Iomedae now, but no one has tended it for years. Westcrown’s government has no interest in maintaining the building, and like so many other ancient structures (especially those this close to the ruined portions of the city) it is simply ignored.
Arael decided to use this old shrine as a safe house for his latest project for precisely these reasons. The combination of it being a sacred place to his religion and being a building the city government ignores makes it a perfect place to serve as a headquarters. Furthermore, long-standing laws that forbid secular groups from looting, rebuilding, or otherwise harming houses of worship work well to prevent too much Hellknight interest in the building. Yet just to be safe, Arael is careful to hide all indications that the shrine is now inhabited. Its facade is as old and filthy as it ever was, and he’s covered all interior doors and windows with dark curtains to block light sources from within. Very few of Westcrown’s citizens know that Arael has cleaned up the interior of the shrine—and most of those are now among his growing group of followers.
The shrine of Aroden is intended to serve as a base of operations for the PCs for the duration of this campaign; as long as they take care to not expose its location and purpose to anyone not of the group, that secret stays safe. It’s important for PCs to have somewhere they can feel safe, and you shouldn’t use this shrine as a place to ambush them or to force a siege—there’ll be enough of that type of encounter throughout the rest of this Adventure Path. No map of the shrine is provided, since combat is unlikely to ever occur here, but if you find you need one, you should take the time to draw one up. Flip-Mat: Cathedral (available at paizo.com) works as the safe house as well.
When the PCs arrive, Janiven and the other rebels arrange to let them wash up, eat, and rest before making formal introductions to the others of the group that are present. Give the PCs time to get to know these other NPCs, as they should recur throughout the Adventure Path and might come in handy in the final adventure in the campaign. The next section summarizes each of these NPCs. When Janiven introduces the PCs, the other “rebels” are in a heated argument about what they should call their group. Some see themselves as rebels and freedom fighters and push for names like “The Knights of Westcrown,” or “The Scions of Aroden.” Others see the group as something that should be gentler and more subtle in its attempt to win the hearts of the citizens (this is Janiven and Arael’s preference as well) and push for less antagonistic names like, “Guardians of Cheliax” or “Children of Westcrown.” This latter name is the one with the most traction, currently. During the remainder of this adventure, as the PCs interact with the others, feel free to have the NPCs ask the PCs for suggestions for naming the organization. If a player comes up with something that you and/or the other players think is particularly exciting, that name ends up winning over the rest—otherwise, as this adventure ends, the group decides to identify itself as the “Children of Westcrown.” The remainder of the Adventure Path refers to the group by this name.
Although none of the Children of Westcrown have made any overt moves toward winning the public’s heart, they do agree that when that time comes, they’ll need to do two things: hide their identities and give the public something by which to identify them—not as individuals, but as members of a group. The current plan is to wear hooded cloaks or full helms whenever a member of the group is performing a public service, but to also wear a red cloth armband on the right arm. This way, unless one of them is caught, they can keep their private lives (and in some cases, families) separate from their work as the Children of Westcrown. As with the name of their organization, the group looks to the PCs for advice and suggestions. If they come up with a better or more interesting idea, the group adopts that “uniform” instead, but otherwise, the rest of this Adventure Path assumes that the red armbands and hoods/helms are the official uniform.
If the PCs talk about their encounters in the sewers, the other members of the Children of Westcrown are fascinated and encouraged to have such brave and hardy folk on their side—that is, assuming the PCs still want to help them. None of the current members are what anyone would call “heroes,” at least not yet; in time, any of them could develop into a hero (or even a villain) depending on PC intervention. For now, impress upon the players how desperate the Children of Westcrown are. Janiven is competent, and their leader Arael is a cleric of some skill, but most of the dozen or so other rebels are young and idealistic, with no training in subterfuge, magic, or battle (they’re all 1st-level commoners or experts). While some of them may have the potential to learn swordcraft, stealth, or magic, most of them are just regular folk who want better lives for themselves and the other people of Westcrown; they’re in no shape to go charging into battle with Hellknights, let alone eventually rally the common people for a change of government. They’re willing to die for their cause, but uncertain if that would accomplish anything significant. They need the PCs’ help.
Children of Westcrown Roll Call
In real-world terms, most of the members of the Children of Westcrown are just like your rank-and-file college student or wage slave. They don’t have the charisma or know-how to inspire others, and don’t have the physical power to fight effectively against authority. Arael is an inspiring leader, but he and Janiven can’t do it alone. With Arael in the custody of the Hellknights, Janiven fears that she won’t be able to keep the group together, and without him the rebels are doomed to failure. With no leader, they’re just a mob; with a leader—and heroes to inspire them—they can be a force to be reckoned with. Janiven believes her group can make a difference in Westcrown, and makes recruiting the PCs to the cause her highest priority, appealing first to any good religious characters (particularly those who worship Cayden Cailean, Desna, Iomedae, or Sarenrae) if the group as a whole seems reluctant.
Currently the rebels consist of Arael (page 31), Janiven (page 12), Morosino, and a core group of devoted young men and women. Most of the NPCs listed are given a potential character class—it is this class that is most suited to the NPC in question, and that NPC should gravitate to a PC of that class, possibly looking up to him or her as a personal role model. A PC can encourage these rebels to live up to their potential, perhaps serving as mentors or even trainers as this campaign goes on. While these rebels may never be great world-shaking heroes, training them gives the group as a whole a better chance of success.
There are also anywhere from five to 10 other people on the fringe of the group (mainly friends or close family members of the following NPCs) who may or may not know of the existence of the Children of Westcrown, and who eventually might be convinced to join if the rebels stay together, avoid the law, and start to make positive changes in the city. For now, these non-member contacts are willing to help them with minor assistance such as lending items, relaying news, and other activities that aren’t illegal and won’t arouse suspicion—these NPCs are not listed below, but will appear now and then during the course of this campaign.
Amaya (CG female Tian human expert 1): Amaya is a well-mannered glassblower and an incredibly beautiful woman who’s somewhat self-conscious about the effect her appearance has on others—she dresses plainly as a result. She hopes someday to visit her distant kin who still live in Magnimar and Sandpoint. (Potential: bard.)
Ermolos (NG male Chelish human expert 1): Ermolos is incredibly muscular, a physique the result of a long apprenticeship as a blacksmith. He walks with a slight limp—a lingering effect of a childhood illness. His father, Ermolos the Elder, was a relatively well-known adventurer who vanished on an ill-fated journey to Thuvia several years ago—Ermolos still clings to the hope to some day travel across the Inner Sea to find his missing parent. (Potential: fighter.)
Fiosa (LG female halfling expert 1): Fiosa is a house servant who is friends with many halfling slaves; she takes advantage of her freedom to help her kin as best she can. She has a very real respect for Janiven and Arael after they helped her smuggle several halfing slaves out of Westcrown (and out of a particularly heinous merchant’s home), and her newfound faith in Iomedae is quite strong. (Potential: cleric.)
Gorvio (N male Chelish human expert 1): Gorvio works for his uncle Jacovo, a horse trader, but has increasingly grown curious about his ancestry—his vibrant amber eyes (among hints he’s overheard from his uncle during the man’s frequent drunken bouts) make him suspect that somewhere in his past lurks the blood of a tiefling or two. (Potential: sorcerer.)
Larko (N male Garundi human commoner 1): Larko lives a simple life as a dock worker, but daydreams of his childhood in the hills east of Westcrown and hopes some day to be able to afford to move out of the city and live a hunter’s life. He’s the strong, silent type, rarely speaking unless he has to. (Potential: ranger.)
Mathalen (LN female Chelish human commoner 1): Mathalen is a thin and wiry woman who worked as a porter but found the job dreadfully dull. She got through her days by making sure to take frequent breaks to meditate and purge her mind of “the poisons of menial labor.” This attitude struck her employer as lazy, and she was recently fired from her job and thinks of the Children of Westcrown as her new calling. (Potential: monk.)
Rizzardo (CN male Varisian human commoner 1): After stowing away on a Chelish ship, Rizzardo found himself more or less stuck in Westcrown years ago. He earns his keep working at odd jobs as an unskilled laborer, but has to switch jobs frequently as a result of his temper and impatience at following orders from one person for too long. He only joined the Children of Westcrown because of a powerful attraction to Janiven, but has since grown to enjoy the company of the others, particularly Ermolos, who he insists sounds like his little brother. (Potential: barbarian.)
Sclavo (LG male Garundi human expert 1): A soft-spoken yet intractable (if secret) worshiper of Iomedae, Sclavo has long worked as a scribe for one of Westcrown’s courts. He longs for a day when the laws of Cheliax can be reformed, and sees this group as a tool that, eventually, can be used to do just that. (Potential: paladin.).
Tarvi (CG female Chelish human commoner 1): Tarvi’s parents own a prosperous jewelry store in Westcrown— the “Glitter Palace.” She’s worked there for years, but is far too witty and intelligent to do the job well. In those years she has engineered the failure of no less than a dozen attempts by her parents to get her married into nobility. Her true passion is studying magic—she has little time for romance, and hopes some day to be able to create and sell magical jewelry. (Potential: wizard.)
Vitti (N male Chelish human expert 1): Vitti is a strange, eccentric man who dyes his hair green and refuses to eat any food he doesn’t grow or catch himself. A talented woodcarver whose works earn him a modest income, he prides himself on the fact that he only carves wood that’s been harvested from deadfalls and other trees that died of natural causes. (Potential: druid.)
Yakopulio (CN female gnome expert 1): Of all the Children of Westcrown, noisy and irreverent Yakopulio is the least religious—she wears her atheism proudly, and her eagerness to contradict often sparks arguments among the others in the group. She works as a bartender (and moonlights as a pimp) at a tavern called the Bruised Eel, and many of the others in the Children of Westcrown don’t understand what Arael sees in the offensive gnome. (Potential: rogue.)