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    Postfest VIII(UPF1): Thieves Guilds of Seaton
    Posted on Tue, November 13, 2007 by Dongul
    Crag writes "Seaton appears to be nothing more then an honest hard working port, however appearances can be deceiving.

    Thieves Guilds of Seaton
    By: Crag

    Seaton appears to be nothing more then an honest hard working port, however appearances can be deceiving.

    Cast of Characters
    Gold Coin Cartel – Lysan Herndale – T9 – LE
    Wharf Rats – Tandar Skelt – T6 – CN (CE)

    Overview
    Seaton is a trading port that once had a rowdy and corrupt reputation. But, that changed when the local lord decided that more respectability was needed. The “campaign against corruption” was vigorously pursued and applauded by many merchants as the criminal element was driven from the town.

    Since then, Seatons’ reputation is viewed as an honest trade port where thieves and corruption are unwelcome. The inhabitants take a great deal of pride in the towns’ reputation as a safe place to live and trade.

    Of course where trade exists there are thieves. Besides a handful of solitary thieves, currently there are two thieves’ guilds operating within Seaton, although only one is publicly known.

    Most members of the guilds are human, although there are a few demi-humans among them. Senior members direct most guild activities while junior members do most of the work. Dependents include family, partners, offspring, prospects, smugglers, fences, forgers and similar people. Hired hands include informants, moles, bribed guards and hired muscle.

    Gold Coin Cartel
    The Gold Coin Cartel is the hidden guild within Seaton, when the local lord sought to eradicate crime; a small thieves guild halted its criminal activities and ran its merchant fronts as “respectable” businesses. The group, to their own surprise, became successful merchants. They even used informants and underworld contacts to anonymously help the authorities eliminate criminal rivals.

    While the nobles focused on fortifications and external threats, many of the leading merchants became unofficial “economic advisors” to his lordship. Many of lord Secunforth's current “advisors” are members of the cartel, which still wields considerable influence.

    The cartel has, over time, created a highly profitable protection scheme called “the merchant association”. This association imposes a hidden five percent tax on most goods sold within Seaton. The payment of this hidden levy allows merchants to trade without interference.

    The higher prices are explained through various plausible means; losses due to the marsh inhabitants, pirates, fortification costs, shortages, thieves.

    In the past, the few outside merchants that complained were dismissed as greedy and denied trade lest they corrupt Seaton again. The internal merchants that complained found themselves labeled as malcontents; many became the target of thieves and corruption inquiries. Fortunately very few “examples” are needed in the present as the merchants of Seaton now view the association fees simply as a necessary part of doing business within the prosperous port.

    Currently, the Gold Coin Cartel has three senior and four junior members in addition to a number of dependents and hired hands. All of its members are thieves. The current head of the guild is Lysan Herndale, with most meetings taking place at his residence in the gardens. The cartel generally increases its membership through offspring, although occasionally a candidate has been found among the solitary thieves once their loyalty has been sufficiently tested.

    The Gold Coin Cartel feels it has no real rivals within Seaton. The cartel is content to maintain its position within society and avoids any criminal activity that could expose the organization. If a solitary thief or rival guild threatens cartel interests, it will use its influence to manipulate the local authorities, urging an arrest and crackdown for the good of public safety, of course.

    Wharf Rats
    The Wharf Rats are commonly believed to be the only organized thieves’ guild within Seaton; its members come from the poverty stricken lower classes. The Wharf Rats rely on the traditional rackets and brute force to maintain discipline within its ranks. Due to the cutthroat nature of the senior leadership and chaotic temperament of many of its members, infighting within the guild is fairly common.

    Currently the Wharf Rats have five senior and nine junior members in addition to a number of dependents and hired hands. Many of its members are thieves, although some other classes are in its ranks. The current head of the guild is Tandar Skelt, with most meetings taking place at the Rat's Nest tavern. The Wharf Rats find new members from the same poor neighborhoods where they grew up.

    The Wharf Rats have disputes with a few of the solitary thieves that occasionally flare up, but then die down again as suddenly when their attention shifts elsewhere. The senior members see their true rivals to be each other; they all have failed to uncover the existence of the Gold Coin Cartel. Although Tandar Skelt is unsure, he is beginning to suspect something isn’t quite right in Seaton.

    Possible Problems
    * A senior member of the cartel feels Lysan Herndale has grown complacent as head of the guild.
    * The cartel has acquired information that could be damaging for a local labor leader.
    * The Wharf Rats have recently tried to expand their extortion business into wealthy areas of town.
    * Wharf Rats are considering recruiting a large number of new members in the near future.
    * Lord Secunforth has been urged by his “economic advisors” to crackdown on the growing criminal threat within Seaton."
     
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