The World Born Dead
The Poison Shadows Guild
Compare to the The House of Black Lanterns Guild
- Any non-good alignment, the activities that the guild regularly performs make it difficult to maintain a good alignment. For example, the Poison Shadows require that any prospective member kill an enemy of the guild before they are allowed to join. This is usually done in cold blood to a captive behind close doors in front of several other members of the guild. Such enemies often are freelance thieves but occasionally they order a hit on an identified Black Lantern member. The guild rarely waives this requirement, but it has been known to happen. Then they are usually given a target to rob and encouraged to let the target live. When both assignments are completed to the satisfaction of their recruiter and his gang then they are recruited into the the guild.
- Prospective members must demonstrate an aptitude for stealth represented by at least 4 ranks in both Hide and Move Silently and interpersonal skills represented by 4 ranks in diplomacy, bluff or intimidate.
- The guild also requires 20% tax on its members income or a flat fee of 2,000 gp paid each month in gold and gems. Its rumored that the hidden master that guild ultimately serves is a Dragon and that the guilds profits go to expanding the dragon’s massive hoard. Members caught cheating the guild are made example of in the most gruesome ways imaginable, and there is seldom anything left to bury.
- Do what you’re told by your superiors.
- Always look out for ways to make money for the Shadows.
- Do not hide or hold back money from the Shadows.
- Respect your masters in the Shadows, and in the Organization in general.
- Don’t attract attention to the guild.
- Never leave the bodies of your victims to be discovered. The dead do tell tales.
- Always consult your fellow Shadows before pulling a job or making a kill.
- Give up your cut to the guild by dawn or else.
Associated classes: assassin, dragon shaman, expert, rogue, and shadow dancer.
Economics: Guild members in good standing can purchase stolen goods from the Poison Shadows’ network of fences for 75% of their market value. They also can regularly sell back magic items for 75% of their market value instead of the usual 50%. Finding a fence in an unfamiliar city requires a DC 20 Gather Information check. The DC is reduced by 2 for every 10 gp of bribes spent to assist the check.
Information: The Poison Shadows have an ancient accord with a secretive group of creatures known as Strangers that provide them with information about their intended targets. Making contact with the Strangers requires 1d2+1 hours but allows the Poison Shadow member to make a Gather Information check at a +16 bonus, once every week. In exchange, the Strangers may demand the Poison Shadows to capture or eliminate people who have something that the Strangers want, and as long as the Shadow does not refuse the agreement is maintained. On very rare occasions the Shadows have even delivered their own members to the Strangers for interrogation.
Organization: The basic unit of the Poison Shadows organization is the gang. Poison Shadow gangs are small, usually no more than a handful of members that were all recruited into the organization at the same time and they are usually led by their recruiter, a longtime Shadow in good standing with organization. The gang chooses a name for itself in accordance with tenet five of the guild’s laws: attract no attention to the guild. Over time, the membership changes as new members are brought into the gang and the gang’s name changes to suit its new members. The gang’s leader reports to his old gang, who in turn passes messages on to that gang’s leader and so on up the chain until the problem is dealt with or the Hidden Master of the Poison Shadows takes a personal claw to the matter.
The first time you use the Shadow Cant to identify yourself to a fellow Poison Shadow, their attitude should move one step closer to helpful in most situations.
Services: The Poison Shadows provide a means to purchase contraband including rare poisons and drugs. They smuggle weapons into cities from the Plane of Shadow and just about anything can be had with a few whispered words to another guild member and enough coin to grease the wheels of the organization. Chances are if the member doesn’t have the items in question he’ll know someone who knows someone who does. Further, the Shadows maintain an alliance with a group of doppelgangers called the Dancers who, in exchange for magic items, will serve the Poison Shadows from time to time. It usually takes 2d6 – 1 days for the doppelganger to make contact once the call goes out.
Further, a Poison Shadow can request a loan of funds from the organization at large. This requires his gang leader set a up a meeting with someone higher up the chain and a diplomacy check made at a -2 for each previous call for aid she has requested. She can request up to 2,000 gold at DC 15, 10,000 gp at DC 20, or 20,000 gp at DC 25 however she is expected to make good on the loan at the end of the month plus interest equal to half the amount borrowed. If she cannot, the she must make an offering of 20% of the amount borrowed every month until she has paid off the loan in full or face harsh consequences from the organization.
The Poison Shadows fight viciously to control shadow crossings, places where the barrier between the Prime and the Shadow Plane are weak enough that passage can regularly be made to smuggle goods between the two planes. They also covet working portals between the two planes as well. To date, the Shadows can count more such crossings and portals than the Black Lanterns, who are forced to make use of the Shadow Walk spell, among their holdings.
Shadow Pacts: Years ago the secret grand master of the Poison Shadows acquired the means to attract the attention of powerful entities that dwell on the Plane of Shadow. These entities can grant members a measure of power in exchange for the life force of humanoid creatures slain in their honor. By conducting a brief ritual in which the gang’s members pledge their allegiance to one of these entities, they gain the power to draw a veil of shadows around themselves which provides a bonus to Hide and Move Silently checks equal to twice the number of members in the shared pact. The effect lasts for 10 minutes, once a day, and each time that any member of the shadow pact coup de grace’s a helpless creature, all the members of the pact gain an additional use of the power for the day. However, if any member of the pact is slain, then the pact is broken. A further benefit of the pact is that any sacrifice fed to the Dark in this manner cannot be raised, reincarnated, or resurrected without a first using a wish to restore their devoured life essence.
Other pact boons can be bestowed by investing XP in the Pact and sacrificing expensive offerings to the Dark.
- Offering cost per gang member: 300 gp, XP cost per gang member 300; benefit: once a day, a pact member can gain a +4 morale bonus on their next saving throw. Additionally, a gang member is also silenced as the silence spell with a caster level equal to the hit dice of the lowest level member of the gang and has a duration equal to that members hit dice in minutes. This ability recharges when any member of the pact murders someone and dedicates their death to the dark powers.
- Offering cost 700 gp/750 XP: benefit: the hide/move silently granted by the pact increases to 3 times the total members of the pact rather than twice their number. Further each member of the team can communicate through a message spell for 1 round per day per each member of the pact. Finally, the pact members can draw upon the pact to reduce damage from a single attack by gaining DR equal to twice the members that share the pact. Each murder dedicated to the dark recharges one round of message and one use of the damage reduction for all members of the pact.
- Offering cost 1,500 gp/1,200 XP: benefit: members of the pact gain the ability to become unseen as a greater invisibility spell once a day for a number of rounds equal to the number of members in the pact. The first attack made while under the effect doesn’t negate the invisibility and is considered to be poisonous (fortitude DC 15 + half the number of pact members; initial damage 1d6 constitution/secondary 1d10 constitution). Further every member of the pact is aware of the status and direction of the other members as per a status spell. This ability doesn’t recharge when a murdered creature is offered up to the dark.
Special: Poison Shadows with the Favored in Guild feat receive the privilege of purchasing a single item every level at 50% of its market value through the guild’s black market connections.
Additionally, new members of the Poison Shadows learn the Shadow Cant. A secret sign language that can be used to communicate silently and in secret.