Excerpts 06/01/2005

City of Splendors: Waterdeep Excerpt
By Eric L. Boyd

The shining jewel of the Forgotten Realms setting is yours to explore! This supplement provides you with an overview of the city that includes history, a who's who, information on laws, and rules for running and playing in a Waterdhavian campaign. Information on the people of Waterdeep covers nonplayer characters, arcane schools, armed forces, guilds, nobility, prestige classes specific to the city, and more. Also included in the book are discussions of specific Waterdeep locales, adventure locales, and new monsters. An extensive appendix gives information on new equipment, magic items, psionic powers, poisons, spells, and more. The excerpts below include information on researching in Waterdeep, details about Halaster's heirs and the Shadow Thieves, a prestige class called the Sun Soul monk, a description of Black Well Court, and monster statistics for the walking statues of Waterdeep. For cover text from this book, check out the May 2005 Preview.

The Shadow Thieves

Marune and the Black Viper

Founded over a century ago in the City of Splendors, the Shadow Thieves[LD]were eventually unmasked and nearly destroyed by the Lords of Waterdeep. After the guild was banished from the City of Splendors, the survivors regrouped in Amn. The guild has since grown to be the largest and most prosperous thieves' guild in all Faerûn, controlling the lion's share of all criminal operations along the Sword Coast (with the notable exception of Waterdeep), and elsewhere in the Realms as well.

The Shadow Thieves have long schemed to reestablish themselves in the City of Splendors. Constant vigilance by the Lords of Waterdeep and their agents kept the guild at bay until recently, but the dark times that have fallen on Waterdeep in the past two decades have given the Shadow Thieves an opening they have been quick to exploit. For more than five years, the guild has been funneling manpower and resources into the City of Splendors -- and results are beginning to show. The guild has slowly come to dominate criminal activity in Dock, South, and Trades Ward, and its fingers are reaching into the northern wards of the city as well.

The Waterdeep sect is led by Silhouette of Shadows Alauneth "the Black Viper" Orrane. She reports to Marune "the Masked," Cloakmaster of the Dessarin, who is in the city often enough to be considered the true head of the sect. Marune, in turn, reports to the Shade of Baldur's Gate and thereby the entire Shadow Council.

Early in the Year of the Tankard (1370 DR), Marune finally unveiled his grand plan for giving the Shadow Thieves an unassailable edge over the Lords of Waterdeep. The necromancer began distributing slippers of shadowwalking* to the guild's highest-ranking thieves. Agents of the Shadow Thieves can now effortlessly navigate Waterdeep's shadows, beyond the reach of the city's Lords. Marune intends to continue this work until the entire city falls under the sway of the guild.

Base of Operations: Before their banishment, the Shadow Thieves were based in the Citadel of Bloody Shadows in the heart of Mount Waterdeep. Today, the reborn guild is based in a half-dozen safe houses scattered through Dock Ward, Southern Ward, and Trades Ward. (A sample safe house is detailed in Lords of Darkness.)

The Shadow Thieves have struck a bargain with the Shadovar of the City of Shade, in which select members of the guild are transformed into shades. In exchange, the Shadow Thieves spy on Waterdeep and the Sword Coast on the behalf of the princes of Shade.

Shadow Thieves of Waterdeep (Standard Criminal): AL LE, NE, CE, CN; 40,000 gp resource limit; Membership 164 (local); Mixed (humans 130, halflings 15, elves 8, dwarves 5, gnomes 3, half-elves 2, half-orcs 1); Dues 70 gp/month (300 gp to join).

Authority Figures: The Shadow Council of Athkatla (specifically the Shade of Baldur's Gate); "The Masked" (Marune, Cloakmaster of the Dessarin; see below); Alauneth "the Black Viper" Orrane (see below).

Important Characters: Androm Kherr (NE male Illuskan human fighter 6, Ruathymite sea captain); Balthorr "the Bold" Olaskos (see page 50); Maknis (LE male Illuskan human commoner 4, shipping agent); Ressic Ophal (LE male Tethyrian human rogue 5/shadow thief of AmnPG 4, spice merchant of Amn); Reoke Segymn (CE male Illuskan human expert 3, merchant); Yladhra the Grim (CE female Calishite human diviner 12, exile from Myratma).

Associated Classes: Expert, fighter, rogue.

Associated Skills: Bluff, Disguise, Gather Information, Hide, Knowledge (local), Sleight of Hand.

Requirements: You may not divulge secrets of the guild to outsiders. You must gain the consent of your superiors before attempting any particularly large (1,000 gp or more) or high profile crime, and the guild is entitled to a 20% cut of your profits for such jobs.

Favored in Guild Fringe Benefit: Mask favors thieves who are bold and quick. Once per character level, you can call upon Mask's blessing to gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC for a duration of 1 minute.

Special: Joining the Shadow Thieves requires a demonstration of cunning and effectiveness (usually the acquisition of a valuable trinket that is to be given to the guild in tribute, or the heart of an assassinated enemy of the guild) and a blood-oath to the Shadow Council's designated representative.

Members of the Shadow Thieves can take the Shadow Thief of Amn[PG]prestige class, if admitted to the guild and they meet all requirements.

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