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 Guilds: The Assassin's Guild
DG
 Posted: Mar 11 2014, 10:09 PM
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The Assassin's Guild

Type: Merchant
Location: Atae
Span: The Kingdom of Tetel'ac
Head: Alexander Di Morné (Unknown) & Chosen Lieutenants
Aligned: Neutral
Purpose: To provide information and assassination services without unnecessary burdens such as political affiliation.

History:
The history of the guild is a simple one that does not require much explanation. It actually begins with Alexander Di Morné's grandfather, a noble-born who aspired to become more affluent and influential than his peers. To this end, he absorbed into his service a small organization of assassins that went without name. He funded this organization and gave it a new base of operations, as well as providing it with an edge over its 'competition.' Soon, these assassins were the most notorious professional killers in Atae, as well as the most skilled at what they did. Assassinations were not the only service rendered however, as information was extremely valuable. To this end, the noble would pay grand sums of money to those that could keep him well informed, using blackmail and his assassins to 'recoup his losses' fairly easily. Eventually, this organization began to grow to the point that the man decided that it could be expanded, and he set up an identical organization in Hoei with a trusted lieutenant chosen to manage operations there.

Eventually, the process repeated again, and the guild was the prime assassination organization in both Atae and Hoei. Seeing a pattern that could become easily exploited, the Di Morné predecessor repeated his methods in Fexlund. He would begin by bringing into his service a small band of assassins in the local area, and he would then build up that group with support from the Kelyean assassins. Competition would be either absorbed or eliminated, and eventually his chosen group would be the most powerful and skilled group remaining. This was not a process done overnight however, and the man would decide to retire, leaving his son to continue the Di Morné family's secret enterprise. This would be Alexander's father, who would expand the holdings of the guild into Rodan and Aknatar before passing it along to Alexander himself. Alexander's contribution to the guild would be to secure its foundations, doubling the size of the organization by placing guildhouses into the two largest cities in each dukedom, one per earldom. This was an add-on to the old system of having the guildhouses present in whichever city was considered the most affluent in the dukedom.
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DG
 Posted: Mar 11 2014, 10:12 PM
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How to Request Assassination or Information:

There are eight guildhouses in total, each one being a well known brothel or tavern of high quality and affluent clientele. There exists one guildhouse in each earldom, in whatever happens to be its most affluent city. Each of these establishments is presided over by the appropriate tavern-keeper or mistress, each one being a trusted lieutenant of the guildmaster. Potential clients will order a drink known as a Widow's Kiss or a Scarlet's Kiss. If the drink is a Widow's Kiss, then the client wants an assassination. If the drink is a Scarlet's Kiss, then the client desires information. The client will have delivered to himself a glass of fine liquid.

There is nothing special about this glass that can be seen from far away, though it bears the mark of the guild if viewed from close up. After the glass has been delivered, the first name that comes from the man's lips in either conversation or simple self-reflection is the name of the target for these services. There are no other signals. If the client wants information that is possessed by the guild, then someone will casually converse with them and the message will be relayed. If no one holds conversation with them within five minutes, then it can be assumed that the guild does not know but will learn. In any case, the client will then place a piece or bronze into a pouch filled with coins. The piece makes others who may be watching assume that the entire pouch is filled with pieces or bronzes, which is appropriate for simple drinks. The pouch is actually filled with gold however, half of the amount agreed upon by the tavern-keeper in advance with the other half to be given upon completion of the duty.

Recruitment:

The guild gains members simply by gathering them from the streets. It provides an alternative for orphans and petty criminals struggling to make ends meet. They are given quarters within or underneath the taverns that are the guildhouses, acting as hired hands or guards during the time that they are not plying their true trades. They can also be arranged into 'families' that live in homes paid for by the guild, the better to keep their identities as assassins secret. The most intelligent of these become the individual lieutenants of the guild, operating as tavern-keepers. These individuals must be skilled in diplomacy and the type of speech needed to converse with their affluent clientele. Through Lord Di Morné's affluence, the assassins are kept well armed, though the weapons are kept hidden exceedingly well from prying eyes until the time comes to bring them to bear. A perk of being aligned with the guild is that unless one is killed while on mission, the chances of being executed are relatively low. Though the identity of the leader of the guild is unknown, it is known that he is exceedingly wealthy, being able to bribe guards to be looking the other way when certain prisoners disappear. This loyalty to his assassins of course comes with the price of being loyal to the guild. Treachery is not tolerated, and repeated failure is also not advised.

Methods:

The guild is rather unique in the fact that it has various methods of plying its twin trades of assassination and information-gathering. Out of every ten assassins, there are a few who are possessed of magical abilities. These are especially valued within the organization, for a client can specifically request certain terms for assassinations. They can request that the assassination be obvious so as to send warnings, or they can request more subtlety, making the death look like an accident. Mages can makes deaths appear to be accidental with surprising ease, coaxing a plagued rat to bite a man with earth magic. A fire that kills the man that could only have been the result of the fireplace catching nearby wooden furniture alight. Men seemingly 'falling' into the paths of galloping horses because of a light breeze, and men drowning in rivers regardless of their swimming skills. The conventional methods highly valued as well of course, for sometimes a swift dagger between the ribs is the perfect messenger that certain nobles are not to be trifled with. The guild separates itself from other via its more magical inclinations however, a unique touch added by Alexander Di Morné himself who insists that elder assassins with magical abilities teach younger and less experienced ones.

In terms of information gathering, the most typical methods are blackmail followed by potions for memory erasure so that the person forgets the telling of the information, and simply getting the person drunk with a magical additive in their drink that coaxes the truth from them more easily. There are more traditional methods of course, including bribing the guards of their households or performing the above methods on contacts of the target. Another aspect that separates this particular guild of assassins from others is the fact that they also perform sabotage on individuals or organizations if requested, unless those individuals or organizations are aligned with the guild. In the case of an alignment conflict, the client is simply informed that the guild cannot perform the task.

Relations:

This guild is one that is known, respected, and feared in many circles. How then does it manage to maintain its status in a lawful Kingdom? Firstly, the guild keeps crime relatively low in the cities that host its guildhouses. An organization that prides itself on its professionalism, it will not tolerate petty crimes from its member assassins. Furthermore, the guild occasionally plies its deadly trade against smaller groups of criminals for the purpose of maintaining its both its monopoly, and the status of a 'necessary evil' among the guards. This keeps other criminal organizations relatively weak for fear of attracting the powerful organization's attention, having a side effect of reducing the amount of crime overall. As well, the organization actively chooses to interpret bounties as contracts, bringing criminals dead or alive that typical guards would find difficult to locate or capture. These activities make guardsmen rather more apt to look the other way, as the Assassin's Guild makes guardsmen's lives much more convenient.

Secondly, the guild acts as a massive information hub, making gathering secrets about one's competition a simple matter. In this way, they perform a service with convenience and assured success that lesser criminals might find difficult. On that same note, assassins of this guild are known to be efficient and more importantly, discreet about their activities. In this way, the guild acts as a precision instrument. This influences the merchant elite and noble-born to pretend ignorance when the Assassin's Guild is mentioned. Finally, there is the rather obvious unspoken thought that a guild of assassins and informants makes a much better friend than enemy. The guild cheapens contracts against its personal enemies, sometimes hunting them without conditions or actively spreading the information that they have gathered about them in harmful ways. For those who make alliances with the guild however, information concerning them will become much more difficult to attain and the guild will be much less likely to accept contracts on that person. For those whom the guild recognizes as true friends to its existence, steps may well be taken to protect the individual. Beyond this, they will find that their enemies disappear swiftly, and that information can become exceedingly abundant.
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