BROTHERHOOD OF SPITE
Some gnomes are friendly little folk, renowned for their ability to make all sorts of wonderful things – clockwork devices, toys, jewellery and other finely crafted objects – and for their fun-loving sense of humour. Others have a nasty streak and take fiendish delight in causing misery and pain to the “big folk”. The pranks they play aren’t innocent jokes that cause embarrassment; instead, the aim is to maim or kill their victims. Fortunately, the first group of gnomes is by far the larger, but the second lot are present in Parsantium too and have banded together to form the Brotherhood of Spite.
The Brotherhood of Spite has around 70 gnome and goblin members, who moved to the city from their dark burrows beneath the Feyshore Forest over the last year or so. Every few weeks, the psychopathic humanoids gather in a secret location in the Hidden Quarter, wearing caps soaked in the blood of their victims, to share their deadly pranks and ingenious murder methods. The nasty little creatures are keen to outdo each other, both in imagination and in body count, although there is no prize other than bragging rights.
Here are some of the Brotherhood’s most infamous members:
Skorrif (CE male gnome wizard 11) is a toymaker and clocksmith who runs a shop called Wondrous Things up on the first floor of the Fonduq of the Nightingale’s Song. He has ruddy tan skin, white hair and glittering black eyes. Skorrif’s mechanical toys aren’t cheap, typically costing 5−10 gp each, but they are indeed wondrous things – the little birds can fly for short distances, the unicorns will trot across the floor, and the armoured knights swing their tiny swords back and forth. Although most of the toys Skorrif sells are delightful, some are decidedly unpleasant. From time to time, Skorrif sells an enchanted toy with a murderous life of its own; these horrible toys will seek to kill their small owners while they are sleeping and escape back to their master.
Posy (CE female gnome rogue 5/assassin 2) is an innocent-looking gnome with strawberry blond hair and pale skin, who hangs round in the busy fonduqs of the Old Quarter, pretending to be a little girl separated from her wealthy family. Promising a fat reward if her victim will help find her father, she lures him into a quiet backstreet where she stabs him with a dagger coated in sleep venom. The victim wakes up to find himself stripped naked and strapped to a wooden table in an old underground cistern. Here, Posy and her sadistic goblin sidekicks slowly torture him with blunt knives, vials of acid, hammers and rusty nails for many hours before leaving him for the rats to finish off.
Ressek (CE male gnome alchemist 4) is a stooped, elderly fellow with a shock of white hair and ruddy brown skin who sells brightly coloured candles from a handcart he wheels around the Mercantile Quarter’s markets. Most of these candles are perfectly harmless but some give off deadly fumes when burned, while others burn normally to start with before spraying furious clouds of sparks everywhere, liable to cause a fire.
The matronly Krisella (NE female gnome rogue 5/wizard 1) works as a midwife in the Poor Ward. She has dark brown hair tied up in a bun, mahogany-coloured skin and a kindly face. She is well-respected among mothers, helping to deliver babies of all races. Every so often Krisella will steal the real baby, replacing it with a changeling – a goblin disguised by illusion magic that fades after 24 hours. The real babies are never seen again.
Twicross Graveltoes (NE male gnome expert 6/rogue 3) is a bulbous-nosed trapsmith with wild tufts of green hair sprouting from his head and chin. Twicross makes deadly traps for nobles, merchants and criminal gangs seeking to protect their vaults from would-be thieves. Once his work is finished, he encourages his employer to test everything works properly with predictably bloody results. Zeno Meverel of the Golden Scimitars has put a price on Twicross’s head after he tricked one of his lieutenants into decapitating himself.