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GM Elberion's Council of Thieves

Game Master GeraintElberion

Five Wiscrani natives are struggling to free their city from the dark forces that plague it...


For eight centuries, Westcrown was a bastion of civilization and a symbol of national strength in Chelish eyes. As the city served as the center of Aroden’s faith, all Cheliax deemed the City of Nine Stars to be Aroden’s next home in the mortal world. Westcrown rivaled Absalom as a destination of pilgrimages during the Age of Enthronement.
Yet, with Aroden’s unexpected death, the once shining City of Nine Stars became the City of Twilight as Chelish citizens lost hope. Decades of bloody strife followed, and the only direction out of the chaos seemed to be the orderly tenets of diabolism. A city that once symbolized a people’s power now projects a people’s disappointment and despair. Hope has dimmed in the city, and shadow beasts walk the streets instead of Aroden’s clergy. Westcrown remains influential in its mercantile and military might, but also humbled by its lost faith and tarnished reputation.

One of the most varied and sophisticated cities of the Inner Sea, Westcrown is an enigma. By day, this city reminds many of any city or country they know, either because of the varied architecture or because people from all across Avistan and Garund now call Westcrown home. The many religious sites, whether active or debased, continue to draw the pious, the curious, and the devious. Even the ruins of the northern city draw interest among those looking for less-than-legal materials or rare treasures amid the dangerous rubble.
But once the sun sets, only the foolish walk out of doors in Westcrown, for the shadow beasts prowl every darkened lane and waterway.

The Gang:

Ermolos: 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.

Fiosa: Fiosa is a halfling 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.

Gorvio: 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.

Larko: 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.

Mathalen: 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.

Rizzardo: 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 he took a liking to Janiven, but has since grown to enjoy the company of the others, particularly Ermolos, who he insists sounds like his little brother.

Sclavo: 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 Westcrown can be reformed, and sees this group as a tool that, eventually, can be used to do just that.

Tarvi: 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.

Vitti: 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.

Yakopulio: 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.

First, a little history

In 4606 ar, Aroden, god of humanity, innovation, and history, died. No city in all of Golarion was wracked more fundamentally by this catastrophic event than Westcrown. The capital of Cheliax—an entire country sworn to the god of humanity’s worship at the time—Westcrown was the expected site of Aroden’s return and had spent decades preparing for the event. A massive plaza known as the Arodennama, complete with a towering statue of the god, stood ready to receive the deity, yet after his death, it took only a few short years for the church of Aroden to fall. The Arodennama was abandoned, and the entire country found itself in the grips of a civil war with fierce diabolists.

The rise of the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune saw Westcrown’s further descent. After a brutal 30-year civil war, the diabolical House of Thrune seized control of Cheliax. One of their first acts as the nation’s new government was to move the capital and royal court north to the city of Egorian, emptying Westcrown of much of its affluence and prestige. Those nobles who remained behind were largely old families rooted in their traditions and their pride, content to rot in their declining home. While still a vibrant and important port, the splendor that had typified Westcrown for centuries swiftly waned, and without the noble court many commoners and merchants who had previously made a living pandering to the country’s elite were forced to move on, leaving whole blocks abandoned. Westcrown faded to a pale shadow of its former glory and became a playground for vultures eager to pick the royal carcass.

And a little context

For eight centuries, Westcrown was a bastion of civilization and a symbol of national strength in Chelish eyes. As the city served as the center of Aroden’s faith, all Cheliax deemed the City of Nine Stars to be Aroden’s next home in the mortal world. Westcrown rivaled Absalom as a destination of pilgrimages during the Age of Enthronement.
Yet, with Aroden’s unexpected death, the once shining City of Nine Stars became the City of Twilight as Chelish citizens lost hope. Decades of bloody strife followed, and the only direction out of the chaos seemed to be the orderly tenets of diabolism. A city that once symbolized a people’s power now projects a people’s disappointment and despair. Hope has dimmed in the city, and shadow beasts walk the streets instead of Aroden’s clergy. Westcrown remains influential in its mercantile and military might, but also humbled by its lost faith and tarnished reputation.

One of the most varied and sophisticated cities of the Inner Sea, Westcrown is an enigma. By day, this city reminds many of any city or country they know, either because of the varied architecture or because people from all across Avistan and Garund now call Westcrown home. The many religious sites, whether active or debased, continue to draw the pious, the curious, and the devious. Even the ruins of the northern city draw interest among those looking for less-than-legal materials or rare treasures amid the dangerous rubble.
But once the sun sets, only the foolish walk out of doors in Westcrown, for the shadow beasts prowl every darkened lane and waterway.

Then, a little politics

The Dottari
The first forces of law and order encountered in Westcrown are often the dottari, the city’s guards or wardens.
Regardless of where their posts lie, dottari all wear the city’s mark—Aroden’s Eye—stenciled in black over a red field on a shield or tabard. Dottari officers wear a reversed mark (red on black field) on their left arms.
On paper, the dottari are one singular order under the control of the mayor’s appointed “high warden”— his young, oft-drunken nephew, Duxotar Iltus Mhartis. As Iltus “prefers to apportion his command to focus on the broader defenses of the city,” his subordinates more often handle his abandoned responsibilities. Thus, personal vendettas and politics divide the dottari into four nearly
independent forces.
Dottari: Durotas Saria Roccin controls the common dottari who man the gates and patrol the streets of the Spera, and she commands the most troops of any civic leader in the city.

Condottari: With at least two adels and a sail barge at official docks on each floating marina, Durotas Scasi Bolvona commands the condottari, or “canal wardens,” who patrol the Westchannel, the Dhaenflow, and the canals of the Regicona.

Knowledge (Local) CR 20:

Scasi has a half-elf love child who he endeavours to keep secret.

Rundottari: Based out of Keep Dotar in the northeastern Rego Cader, the rundottari, or “ruin wardens,” operate under the authority of Durotas Arik Tuornos.

Knowledge (local) CR 20:
Arik is a cynical but fair man who assumed this rank only to prevent Eccobar Drumanis, a long-time family enemy, from assuming command and wasting the lives of friends or good soldiers.
Arik knows his command is a posting of low prestige and social punishment, but he and his men take pride in their responsibility to man the walls of Rego Cader and keep the threats and dangers of the ruins contained and out of the city.

Regidottari: The regidottari (“palace wardens”) operate under the authority of Durotas Lhiana Strikis (CE human female fighter 3/wizard 2). Lhiana treats her troops like her personal slaves, often berating them publicly for minor offenses.

Knowledge (local) CR 15:
She maintains control of her forces only by offering higher pay than other dottari and the prestige they gain both in working on the Regicondan Walls and in their potential ability to craft alliances with the city’s rich and powerful.

Knowledge (local or Nobility) CR 25:
Lhiana herself has been a pawn and lover to at least three members of the city’s nobility since her arrival in Westcrown more than 7 years ago.

The Mayor
Under Chelish law and tradition, the Mayor of Westcrown (or lord mayor, as its current officeholder insists upon) controls the Dottari and the tax coffers that maintain city stability.
In 4689 ar, Aberian Arvanxi was made lord mayor of Westcrown by Her Infernal Magestrix, Queen Abrogail II.

Knowledge (local) CR15:

Rumours suggest that he finagled political support for himself while slandering and undermining the allies of the former administration, and many suggested he had a hand in the sudden death of his deposed predecessor Mayor Arthan Challas.

In the years since, Lord Mayor Arvanxi’s affectations for Chelish opera have seen him pump a large
amount of public money into maintaining and rebuilding various opera houses and entertainment halls. He sees this as “the betterment of public diversions to raise the hearts and minds of all Wiscrani”; most citizens (especially those who lack the money to travel to the island opera houses
or enter the few in the Spera) see this as the mayor using public funds for his own enjoyment rather than the improvement of Westcrown. Such likely proves the case, but as these pastimes keep the spiteful and largely incompetent mayor from meddling in the affairs of most common Wiscrani,
the public quietly puts up with such decadences.

The Nobility
Westcrown was shorn of many of its noble families when the capital was moved to Egorian by House Thrune. Now, only small offshoots and determined traditionalists remain. However, the nobility still dominate Westcrown and are vital to its governance and wealth.

The underworld
Westcrown has its share of organised crime, just like any major city, but at one time it was dominated by the ruthless Council of Thieves: a guild of criminals said to have links with many of the great noble houses.
Officially the Council of Thieves has been destroyed and to many it is simply a source of fireside stories, however rumours persist that the organisation lingers on, it's influence pervading every backroom deal and back-alley drubbing.

Hellknights
The Hellknights are a semi-official, largely autonomous set of orders dedicated to the principle that the orderly law of hell is the best example of governance anyone could have. Hellknights seek to dominate devils and learn from them how best to run a nation, a region or a city.
In Westcrown two hellknight orders are most common: The Order of the Rack and The Order of the Scourge.
The Order of the Rack are one of the oldest and largest Hellknight orders, they often 'assist' in maintaining law and order in the city and have a long-standing, though sometimes fractious, relationship with the Dottari and the Lord Mayor.

If you are interested, there is also some geography...

Westcrown at a Glance

One’s location in Westcrown determines the size, height, and opulence of the surrounding buildings. Every building, however, begins with a stone foundation, most often the light stone quarried from the surrounding hills or along the Adivian River. The richer areas of town contain all-stone construction, if not rarer or more specialized materials. Most places add three or more levels made from wood, either light varieties of local trees or the dark barroak felled in the Barrowood and brought downriver. Buildings lean upon each other at the higher levels where necessary, with the sight of free-standing buildings usually denoting the money and influence of nobility.

Streets and walkways in Westcrown almost undulate in places, evidence of the random nature of the building spaces. Stone paves every surface within the city walls, and while main avenues in richer areas have stone slabs, mirror-slick in the rain, cobblestones fill other areas. All runoff gets channelled to sewer grates or back toward the river, and keeping grates clear of blockages becomes an informal task for dottari during the rainy seasons. While there are hire-sweeps to tend to the streets and keep them clear of offal, few folks beyond the rich can afford them, and garbage piles up in the alleys of poorer sections of town until cleared by locals or benevolent priests. The city’s pride and arrogance has dimmed over the decades along with its lost influence as the failed “Home of Aroden.” As a result, many Wiscrani no longer take as much pride in keeping their neighbourhoods clean or in the best repair. Structures exposed to the elements remain unmended, garbage chokes some alleys, and things change only by the influence of dottari spears or coins. While the faith of many people crumbled with Aroden, his priests and worshippers of his founders continue to watch out for Westcrown and its people, shoring up and repairing temples and common buildings alike.

Information about the city:

Beyond the City
The Upper Adivian/The Dhaenflow: Less than a mile north of Westcrown’s northernmost wall, the Upper Adivian branches off the main flow and wends its way west among the hills. This waterway remains a strong, defensible river beneath the Adivian Bridge but slowly shrinks and splinters among the shallow creeks, pools, and marshes of the Dhaenfens. The Dhaenflow is the waterway’s local name, dubbed for a noble who deprived his enemies of their spoils by fleeing into the swamps with the last treasures of his failing house.

The Westchannel: Within 200 yards of where the Dhaenflow branches off the main course, the river splits sharply again into the Westchannel. This is the main waterway of Westcrown, where the current slows by the natural shelter of the island and coastlands. Many once believed Aroden blessed Westcrown, as garbage only rarely flowed into the Westchannel or the island’s canals. The dumps littering the eastern shores often formed naturally with each spring flood, and Wiscrani used those lands for the same purpose. Now, a century after Aroden’s passing, more and more wood, ship wrack, and other flotsam drifts into the Westchannel or the canals, sometimes enough to damage or deter trade traffic until it can be cleared by the harbormaster’s crews.

The Southrun: The Southrun is the name for the South Adivian as it continues past Westcrown, often depositing flotsam and other waste against the eastern shores. Unlike the placid currents of the Westchannel, the South Adivian alongside Westcrown Island bears a stronger current that drags any unmoored or uncontrolled boats against the eastern shores or south to the bay.

The City's Districts
Parego Regicona
Wiscrani call Westcrown Island Regicona. Encircling the 8 canal-riddled islands are the Regiconan Walls, the Chained Arches spanning each of the canals piercing them. Most of the city’s population never sees inside the walls built by their efforts and coins, so rumours run rampant of what happens within the Regicona. All they and most city visitors see are the grandeur of the tallest buildings rising above the walls, like the former royal palaces and a grand opera house.
Rego Corna
“Crown Sector” encompasses the former stronghold of power in Cheliax—the Imperial Court of Cheliax and its attendant holdings and homes. Once the most desired land in the country, the islands of Impriax, Dlaratha, and Siraon recovered only some prestige in the past three decades.
Rego Laina
Triam and Islatra comprise the large central pair of islands in “Blade Sector.” These are the last of the original islands, and none today remember the origins of their names. The name of the sector stems from the many famous battles, smithies, and armouries situated therein.
Rego Aerum
“Treasure Sector” is the home of true rarities for sale in Westcrown. The youngest territory in the city, the southern half of Westcrown Island only grew beyond mud flats in the past millennium. The three islands of Rego Aerum include Siar, Ghiam, and Karhal. The park at the south end of Karhal formed due to the mysterious inability of any building built there to be completed, due to a long history of strange accidents. The lands became a city park for the rich and idle in 4040 ar.

Parego Dospera
The Parego Dospera (“Despair’s Altar”) refers to the abandoned ruins and downtrodden slums of the northern shores of Westcrown. The roads are often in disrepair, and running in the Dospera invites a twisted ankle or a broken leg, leaving one fair game to the many threats in its shadows. While the northern sector is entirely a ruin, only kept in vague control by the sureshots of the rundottari on the walls around it, the southern rego acts as the buffer zone between it and “civilized” Westcrown.
Rego Cader
“Dead Sector” refers to the northern ruins, though older Wiscrani can tell you this used to be Rego Plea (formerly home to house slaves, servants, and lesser trades) before Aroden’s Fall. Inside this sector are the “low trades” the nobles wished not to see, including many forges or smithies still useful, if not in good repair. The bulk of the abandoned or ruined buildings were once taverns, inns, rooming houses, and stables. Now, most are either squats and partial homes for barbaric humans, dens of thieves, or even the lairs of monsters from leucrotta to goblins and tieflings strong enough to survive. There may even be gargoyles still bound to guard areas that have long since fallen to ruin around their perches.
Rego Crua
“Blood Sector” once held all slave trade and a wide array of low-end or less-desirable businesses, from tanneries to slaughterhouses. As a result of the stench and filth, this sector also contained the northern slums of Westcrown, nestled up against the walls of Rego Cader (which sometimes makes them safer due to the near-constant presence of rundottari above them). The farther south one travels, the more buildings rise in height and cleanliness until you cross the eastern Pegasi Bridge into Parego Spera.

Parego Spera
The Spera (“Hope’s Altar”) contains the still-thriving sections of the city, once looked down upon by the city’s elite and now recognized as its money-making lifeblood. The western city still holds many nobles, but unlike the Regicona, trade and coin rule here more than politics. The three sectors of the Spera are Rego Scripa (“Scribe Sector”), the commercial hub and mercantile class sector that was the site of the empire’s scribes and printers; Rego Pena (“Coin Sector”), the fine trades, high-quality goods, and “new money” class sector; and Rego Sacero (“Priest Sector”), the temple and “old money” sector.
Rego Scripa
“Scribe Sector” was once the center for the bureaucratic work of the Chelish empire, the area dominated by ink- and paper-makers, printers, binders, scribes, and messengers. Now, precious few such businesses remain beyond cartographers; trade warehouses and ship-related businesses (rope- and sail-makers, navigators, and shipwrights) now populate this sector.
Rego Pena
“Coin Sector” houses the more lucrative trades and many houses of dubious standing, politically or monetarily. This also acts as home to a rising class of rich merchants who, by choice or fate, lack the political clout or connections to gain noble status or the notice of the Imperial Court.
Rego Sacero
“Priest Sector” contains more shrines and ecclesiastical real estate (extant or ruined) than five other Chelish cities combined. For centuries, priests and nobles alike kept all land east of the Arodennama (on and beneath the Rise) vacant for Aroden’s personal gardens. That land became a flashpoint of land grabs and assassination among many nobles, officials, and priesthoods after the Last Azlanti’s death. By 4614, various faiths and houses had bought up much of the land.


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