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Fleshing out the Dusk Market


Council of Thieves


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I threw together some ideas for fleshing out the Dusk Market, in case anyone starts to frequent the businesses there. My own players are interested in this since I've been playing up that the local businesses do have to answer questions for the Dottari or the Hellknights about what they might have sold to whom and when.

Dusk Market details I've come up with:

Spoiler:

Malraugus, also known as "Boss": Malraugus is the Dark Stalker often referred to as "Boss" by his followers and even by some of the other inhabitants of the Dusk Market. While the Market is open for business, Malraugus can be seen darting from shadow to shadow around the market, giving orders to his followers and taking notes, then disappearing before anyone can ask him further questions.

Malraugus' Teamsters: Malraugus has a uncounted number of Dark Creepers that follow his every command. Malraugus hires out these followers to break down and move the Dusk Market every night, and set it up again every afternoon. When Malraugus gives the command, a swarm of the rag clad beings boils out of the ruins and swarms on the tents and structures of the Dusk Market like locusts on crops.

Not unlike Malraugus, the teamsters dart from the shadows from time to time, sometimes making a comment to one of the shop keepers or customers, then disappear before they can be further addressed.

The Alchemist (Alchemical Supplies and Arcane Potions): No one in the market has a name to put to this figure, and as such he is only referred to by his profession. The Alchemist wears very formal, well tailored robes of red with gold trim and runes. He also wears a mask that covers his eyes, though he never seems to have a difficult time seeing those that he is dealing with.

The Alchemist is a great source of gossip for others in the Dusk Market, in part because the man never gives away any degree of information about himself. Any attempt to discuss anything except commerce with actually aggrieve the Alchemist, and repeatedly trying to discuss anything with him that doesn't relate to the purchase of alchemical items or potions will actually cause him to threaten to annihilate the customer in question.

The Alchemist has an assistant, an Ukobach devil that goes by the name Trochalk. Trochalk will often times step in to finish a sale if the Alchemist himself gets too frustrated to conduct business. Trochalk himself is often amused at the discomfort of the Alchemist.

The Alchemist's shop is unnamed, and is usually set up on some ruined storefront or building within the ruins. If business doesn't seem particularly brisk, Trochalk will stand out front and act as a crier, actively soliciting customers for the shop.

Madame Liiresta (Brothel): Liiresta is the public face, and assumed owner, of the Carnal Knowledge. Upon arriving at the entrance to the Carnal Knowledge, Madame Liiresta welcomes the customer and hands them a book with various acts described and detailed for various prices. Once a page is selected, Madame Liiresta collects the cash, directs the customer to the proper section of the Carnal Knowledge, and waits for the next customer, though she does tend to cut off sales before the Dusk Market closes, depending on the act chosen, so that the customer won't be interrupted with the onset of nightfall.

Customers don't realize this when they first come to the Carnal Knowledge, but Madame Liiresta's book is actually magical in nature. The book displays only the acts that a given customer is not vehemently morally opposed to (it will show acts that they believe to be immoral, but that do not elicit a sense of outrage). The numbers reconfigure based on which ones are on display (leading to some amusing misunderstandings between patrons that refer to what they may have purchased by number). It is not uncommon for patrons that visit the Carnal Knowledge over time to see more and more options appear in the book, as they find less and less to be repugnant to them. Gossip in the Dusk Market says that seeing every option in the book is usually the first sign that one has gone incurably insane.

Madame Liiresta herself is a tiefling of striking appearance. She has white skin and bright red hair and lips, with tiny horns on her forehead, barely perceptible through her hair. Liiresta doesn't wear particularly revealing clothing, though she does wear form fitting clothing that shows very little flesh. Liiresta often times even wears demure hoods or shawls and plays the part of the shy flower from time to time.

If the gossip in the market can be trusted, Liiresta has almost no interest in the kind of pleasures that she traffics, except under certain circumstances. According to these rumors, Liiresta becomes quite interested in amorous activities if she has recently killed someone or something. These can be employees that fail to meet her standards or disappoint her customers, or the odd Dark Creeper that tries to sneak a peek under one of the tent flaps. Once she has killed, the only thing on her mind is satiating other desires. Those same rumors claim that Liiresta has birthmarks that look like feather patterned tattoes on her back, from her shoulders to her hips. Finding out the truth of these rumors could be challenging and potentially dangerous to the curious.

The Carnal Knowledge is a huge complex of pavilion tents that all connect with one another to form a maze of black canvas. While the sounds typical of an establishment of this nature can be heard softly emanating from the tents, that gentle background noise is heard from the time the tents are set up to the time they are broken down, and many believe that there may be an enchantment that hides the true, and perhaps more daunting, noises that would be generated by some of the less seen numbers in Liiresta's book.

Doctor Aerelien (Divine Spellcasting and Divine Potions): Doctor Aerelien is a Forsaken Elf that has taken up the worship of Zon-Kuthon. The elf has black hair and pale skin, but is attractive and personable to anyone that enters his relatively small tent from which he operates his business.

Anyone looking closely at Aerelian notices that the elf has actually developed very small scars across his face near his eyes, ears, and mouth, the results of experimental surgeries that he has performed on himself to alter his appearance.

Aerelian will gladly cast divine spells for those that come to him, and will provide potions and divine scrolls for anyone that requests them, for the proper fee. Whenever someone comes to him with an affliction, however, Aerelien does exhort his patients to discuss their affliction or injury in exacting detail, often time smiling at disturbing points in the discussion.

Kuraud (Arms and Armor): Kuraud is a hobgoblin weaponsmith that proudly sells weapons, both mundane and masterwork, as well as similar armor as well. Originally Kuraud's business was a partnership with his brother Nurvas. Once the business became profitable, Kuraud formally challenged his brother for the right to his half of the business, killed Nurvas, and had his children killed and claimed his wives.

Kuraud often speaks fondly of his brother and if asked has no problem explaining how the business came under his control. Kuraud has a difficult time understanding how other cultures might view hobgoblin practices. He fully expects one of his sons, all of whom are skilled weapon or armor smiths, to eventually challenge him for the right to run the business, but he is confident that he is still young and healthy enough to kill whichever son might challenge him first.

Kuraud's armor and weapons are usually very utilitarian in design and appearance, which often leads his patrons to believe that he cannot create more artistic weapons and armor. These patrons are incorrect. Karaud rarely advertises it, but one of his sons is quite gifted in adding artistic flourishes to weapons and armor, and its even been rumored that some Hellknights have even come to the hobgoblin to craft their specialized suits of armor.

Kuraud always attempts to set up his shop in an abandoned building to provide him with a solid structure. During the time that that Dusk Market is open, his sons often work to show off items and volunteer services that the shop might provide.

Tanglesmell Earflingnailboard (Narcotics and Poisons): Tanglesmell is a gnome that believes that the key to never falling prey to the Bleaching is to regularly sample new mind altering substances. He sells many of these, and has contacts that can find him rare and exotic intoxicants from around Avistan and beyond.

Tanglesmell has, over the years, learned to extract some of the less savory side effects from the drugs that he sells in order to create poisons. Eventually he has learned to create poisons that have nothing to do with the drugs he sells, and has learned that this is a profitable side business. While some of the other vendors also sell poisons, Tanglesmell is particularly good at making them quickly.

Tanglesmell's obsessiveness has led him, in the safety of his lab during the day, to see how well he can resist his own poisons, intentionally damaging himself to see what the poison does. From time to time Tanglesmell has also had discussions with Aerelian over some of these instances.

Trask Cannivard (Arranged Thefts): Trask is a happy, outgoing halfling that was once a slave in Westcrown. He has many contacts among the halflings of the city, those that have positions granting them access to much that the humans of the city don't quite realize they have left in the "slips" grasp. Trask can arrange to have nearly anything delivered and left in a certain spot for the right price.

The rumor in the market is that Trask also has ties to the Church of Norgorber as well as his network of halfling slaves, servants, and "arrangers."

Morg "the Drunk" (Alcohol): Morg is a fat, disheveled man that often has burly humans and half-orcs hanging around his shop willing to defend their "buddy" for the price of a few free bottles of whatever Morg has available. Despite this, Morg often has a good stock of whatever rare drink that a patron might wish to purchase.

Morg in reality is a Andoran Eagle Knight that keeps track of rumors and purchases flowing around the Dusk Market, and has made a habit of creating a loyal base of bodyguards and informants from the ranks of porters and bodyguards loyal to other shop keepers.

Balgorn the Quiet (Psionic Items): Balgorn is a Duergar that deals in psionic goods. He has the typical grey skin and bald pate of a duergar, and his beard is long, scraggly, white, and unkempt, which has led some speculation that Balgorn is in morning over some friend or family member, though many often wonder if the Duergar also keep to this dwarven tradition.

Balgorn speaks little, and is put off by anyone that peruses his wares that might have no knowledge of psionics or psionic items.

Tegomalan (Magic Items of all kinds): Tegomalan is a Witchwyrd, a strange alien creature that exists to sell items. He seems to be able to procure almost any kind of magic item if given enough time. Tegomalan originally wished to set up a more legitimate storefront in Westcrown, but frequent visits by thugs collecting "protection money," and constant threats caused him to rethink trying to open up his "magical emporium of the exotic."

Tegomalan even has magically enhanced signboards and lights to hang outside of the pavilion tent that he uses as his storefront. He often goes outside of the tent to bring in business, and is truly enthusiastic about selling to those around him. Often times he intentionally sets his prices just a bit high in order to encourage haggling, but his pattern is very predicable, and nearly anyone that has visited him on a regular basis can figure out that Tegomalan simply wants them to go through the motions to make the alien merchant happy.

Many of the other merchants hate the cheerful alien, but Tegomalan often carries on long detailed conversations with them when business is slow, rarely noting that his fellow merchants seem to be ready to murder him. Morg, Trask, and Aerelian seem to be the only regular members of the Dusk Market not on the verge of finding a suitable assassin to dispatch the Witchwyrd. The main reason that the others don't seem to follow through with such plans seems to be due to the fact that the Witchwyrd has a large group of mercenaries willing to defend Tegomalan, but also the market in general, and because the Witchwyrd tends to draw in the curious to purchase from other local businesses in the market.

Trogeni Khollarix (Slaves): There are several slavers in the Dusk Market, but Trogeni is the most influential, and tends to organize the others, as well as skimming a bit of gold off the top of all of the slave sales in the Dusk Market. Trogeni appears to be completely human, and rarely volunteers his last name to anyone.

The truth is that not only is Trogeni not fully human, he is a certified first generation shame to his family as a full half-fiend, a shame to his family due to a daughter of the family dallying with a charming devil that served the family's interests in Egorian, as the family attempted to raise their standing with the House of Thrune.

Trogeni funnels gold back to his family, quietly, and in exchange gets to call on a few of the family ties when he makes his business deals. Morg tends to be very interested in Trogeni's business dealings.

Trogeni has from time to time arranged to sell unfortunate individuals into slavery outside of Cheliax when they have become a liability in their native land.

This shouldn't be seen as an exhaustive list of businesses in the Dusk Market, just the most prominent and stable of the businesses that set up there.

Let me know what you think, and hopefully this will be helpful to someone that might want to use the Dusk Market in their games.

Osirion

I would love to use this - and I probably will have it around. Since most of my players are LG, only the one CG may go to the dusk market. Thanks for the write-ups, though!


Yes, this is awesome! I'll be using some of these ideas as well.


Thanks guys. I was hoping to strike the right balance between strange plot hooks without turning off too many players from wanting to interact with the characters.

I'm still thinking if the market needs more regulars.


KnightErrantJR wrote:

Thanks guys. I was hoping to strike the right balance between strange plot hooks without turning off too many players from wanting to interact with the characters.

I'm still thinking if the market needs more regulars.

It should have a Dottari informant, that's on the Market's payroll. He'll inform of normal wheeling and dealings, but you'd have to pay him special if you want to keep some purchases quiet. A privacy tax, if you will.

A rumor monger as well. Somebody you can buy and sell info from.

Osirion

Ian Watt wrote:


A rumor monger as well. Somebody you can buy and sell info from.

I really like this idea - this may end up being how I introduce the Dusk Market to my group. If they almost make a really high (bardic) knowledge check on knowledge local, I'll have them "remember" a rumor guy at the market. Awesome, now I will probably get to use all this cool info on the market.


KnightErrantJR wrote:
... fleshing out the Dusk Market ...

Thank you; I'll introduce this some time IMC.


I've got a few more ideas now, based off of some comments here, but I one reason I'm hesitant to introduce a blackmailer type Dottari is that the impression I got is that the whole point of the Dusk Market is to be able to frequent it without fear of retribution.

Someone actively blackmailing those that visit the place would be a threat to its continued existence, and I even got the impression that the Rundottari are pretty much "in on" the whole thing and even direct people there for the right price.

A blackmailer would screw up the head Rundottari's take, and probably wouldn't be tolerated for long.

That having been said, its a natural plot hook, especially after PCs have been safely shopping there for a while, for someone to get excited and try something like this. Heck, it even fits the Organized Crime theme of the AP. You always have the Joe Pesci type that breaks the rules that the mob has set up, and causes problems for everyone.

In this case, the blackmailer would be probably on the outs with everyone, Rundottari, market owners, secret shopers, the whole she bang, but the interesting thing would be, would he get whacked before he did too much damage, and if he gets whacked, does he pass on the blackmail information to someone else that the interested parties aren't as easily able to track down?


*bookmark*

wow....I gotta find time to read this thoroughly, but I just wanted to bookmark it. Wow.


KnightErrantJR wrote:


Someone actively blackmailing those that visit the place would be a threat to its continued existence, and I even got the impression that the Rundottari are pretty much "in on" the whole thing and even direct people there for the right price.

That's what I meant by a dottari informant. He's just the guy from the rundotarri that is around to keep an eye that things aren't getting to out of hand, and that collects the tithe for the Durotas. The way I see it, the rundottari need the money to operate, and as a black markety will always exist, better to be able to keep an eye on it. So no trouble with criminals, noblefolk an even monster types, though high profile traitors would be a no no. Is that clearer?

I like the complication you bring up, of this rundottari turning coat and informing on the market.


Sorry I didn't get back to this sooner. I'm worn out, prepping for a convention this weekend.

I completely missed what you were trying to say, and I get what you were saying now. I agree that while the Rundottari don't want to interfere with the trade at the Dusk Market, they would probably want to know if someone was running around the market saying "I'm gonna use this to kill me some Hellknights," or "first Westcrown, next Egorian!"

The main reason I wasn't thinking of doing anything that might indicate the Rundottari keeping too obvious of an eye on the place is that in my campaign I've already made the players a little paranoid of shopping for anything out of the ordinary, and the Dusk Market is going to be a bit of a relief for them.

(When going after Whitechin, they went to purchase silver arrows, and the smith said, "silver? Isn't that used to kill devils?" and it run them off of wanting to pick up anything that wasn't day to day equipment)


KnightErrantJR wrote:

I threw together some ideas for fleshing out the Dusk Market, in case anyone starts to frequent the businesses there. My own players are interested in this since I've been playing up that the local businesses do have to answer questions for the Dottari or the Hellknights about what they might have sold to whom and when.

Dusk Market details I've come up with:

** spoiler omitted **...

Fleshing it out seems like an understatement here. Your first post about the NPC's look like something you would expect in the module. WELL DONE! I will be using this General Idea for sure (Hope thats ok with you KnightErrantJR) lol. My players are essentially 4 rogues, a barbarian, and a cleric. they will love this lol.


KnightErrantJR wrote:


(When going after Whitechin, they went to purchase silver arrows, and the smith said, "silver? Isn't that used to kill devils?" and it run them off of wanting to pick up anything that wasn't day to day equipment)

A proper sense of paranoia...nice :D And you're right, there has to be a place were you can dispose of HellKnight armor anyways ;)

Andoran

Ian Watt wrote:
there has to be a place were you can dispose of HellKnight armor anyways ;)

Actually, we just use any relatively close, appropriately deep body of moving water.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is extremely useful! Thank-you!

I'm particularly intrigued by the fact that the Alchemist wears Arvanxi house colours. I may have to do something with that.


This is awesome! I will definitely be using this as a base for my own dusk market.

I noticed nobody mentioned Jarvis Albrecht, the informant from Mother of Flies, who is described as an active member of the underground or his contact, Goren One-ear, who is specifically described as a store owner in the dusk market (though, they never say what is his trade)


Very interesting and detailed characters. I'm going to use one or the other in my campaign

I was wondering what goods would be sold in the dusk market, since in my opinion only very few wares are restricted in Westcrown. As far as I know slavery is not forbidden and even drugs and other illicid materials can be legally bought in Cheliax. Is it just that the formal requirements are less here then they are for a shop midtown? Or can you think of items or services that are illegal even in an evil land like Cheliax?


Miklos D'Ville wrote:

Very interesting and detailed characters. I'm going to use one or the other in my campaign

I was wondering what goods would be sold in the dusk market, since in my opinion only very few wares are restricted in Westcrown. As far as I know slavery is not forbidden and even drugs and other illicid materials can be legally bought in Cheliax. Is it just that the formal requirements are less here then they are for a shop midtown? Or can you think of items or services that are illegal even in an evil land like Cheliax?

In "Mother of Flies" the drug "Pesh" (from Katapesh) is illegal to sell in Westcrown. Selling armor or weapons looted from hell knights might be difficult, too. Stolen goods of all kind.


Ok, that makes sense ... I think I missed my intelligence check there :-D


This was an amazing resource! Thank you for sharing. The first thing our group did after they rescued Arael and returned the horses was to locate then visit the Dusk Market, to unload the Hellknight armor they had scavenged from unconscious knights. This post was my guide and my group loved it.

I added a couple regulars, to suit my purposes:

The Zookeeper: a bent, wiry, greasy old man who sells both caged animals and animal components, magical and mundane.

Spoiler:
I used him so that others could gossip about how former mayor Dargentu Vheed sent his imp Livia to buy certain creatures from him and it was rumored that he used them for sadistic purposes

Hope: Aasimar halfling female, with a silver tipped silvanshee feline named Lickwhisker. Her real name is long forgotten and she adopted her current name because she is a symbol of hope to the halflings as a contact for the underground railroad. She also vends holy items, silvered weapons and wooden stakes and things one might need for fighting devils and vampires. I thought a black market in an evil city should have at least one good vendor, working against the establishment.

Spoiler:
She asked my PCs if they knew Vahnwynne Malkistra or if they'd seen her around. Hope explained that she used to come often after she arrived in town but that she hadn't seen her for weeks.


I have to say this excellent!
playing this adventure path ATM ( just got to the pathfinder lodge!)

I am sure my arch nemesis (a "prosy" of Calistra and party member) could get work at the Carnal Knowledge and he's not particularly worried if it has a pulse or not.... (one comment was about a hot date with a zombie but decided there were to many health and safety issues with that one!! LOLOL)

we've yet to visit the Dusk Market but I sent this link to our GM and so hopefully we may well visit it shortly

again sir WELL DONE


KEJR, what is Trogeni and Trask's relationship? Are they ennemies or they don't care what the other is doing business-wise?

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