Brimhaven (3.5e Environment)

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History[edit]

The Golden Years marked the beginning of the slow end for the power of the royal family in the west. King Crovan Brunhelm, father of the current King Eric Brunhelm, was a weak ruler, although not as feeble as his son. Crovan knew the importance of naval trade, since the unmistakable decline of the west meant that connections to the far-off east were becoming more and more important. While there were several port cities even in those times, there was no singular center of seaborne trade in the kingdom, a wrong Crovan intended to make right.

Brimhaven was established in 3092, by throngs of sailors funded by Fort Brunid. The sailors came from all over the western and southern coastline. Since they were given fairly free reign over the establishing of the city, it was built on top of the smaller villages that had once served as the primary port to Delve in Marid'Arn. The name came from the surname of one of the most influential among the sailors, Boran Brimm, who received a noble title from the king soon after.

The weakened position of the king meant the city became more-or-less a self-governing entity, paying lip service - and taxes, obviously - to Fort Brunid. However, both the lip service and the taxes grew smaller over the years, as the Von Brimms became more powerful and the King ever weaker. After the death of Crovan Brunhelm, the seaside city and the capital fortress almost came to blows for dominance, before they were swayed to peace by the Council of Redford. Brimhaven became an effectively independent city, ruled by its Counts, and only paid the kingdom in services rendered: free access to the waters, maintaining the Dungeon, and so on.

Now Brimhaven stands as one of the powerhouses in the west. The current count is Alexander von Brimm, a second son of the previous count who became the head of his family after the tragic "maritime accident" that took his big brother. Once, the counts had to answer to the other nobles of the city, as well as to the king at least in name; now, the tyranny of Alexander is absolute. He has seized control of the port in full. Dissenters are jailed indefinitely (not executed: Alexander knows the power of martyrdom) and sycophants greatly rewarded.

Inhabitants & Rulers[edit]

Brimhaven is among the most populous cities on the continent. The actual city area houses well over 10,000 adults plus their children, belonging to all five races. The most common race in Brimhaven are humans, with dunners and goblins as the not-so-close seconds. Most of the inhabitants of Brimhaven consist of the poor and downtrod, each frenziedly fighting each other (sometimes literally) to secure a spot in the walled-off neighborhood - a mark of prestige. The elite (nobles, rich merchants and a few priests) are rare, but invariably incredibly affluent.

Brimhaven is rare in that there are some ogres living within the city limits, although each has to be accounted for: basically working for an influential individual and marked with tattoos signifying ownership. They work as the ultimate heavy lifters, both in the docks and in other areas of the city. They're rare enough to be a shocking sight even to locals, with perhaps some 100 living in the city.

Count Alexander von Brimm is the absolute tyrant of his namesake city. While the king of Fort Brunid could be said to be the technical ruler, he has zero say in what takes place on the southern coast. Brimhaven has been led by the Von Brimm counts and their servants even from its establishment, but it was the power-hungry Alexander to seized complete control. Now, the coast west of Raventurn and south of Caragos Maride answers to him.

The Brine Count, as he is sometimes called, achieved this feat through upsetting the peace of the city with radical reforms: he legalized prostitution and most narcotic substances, while simultaneously heavily funding churches and the town guard. This dichotomy created a struggle that weakened the civic side of the city, and allowed a charismatic leader and good speaker to sway both the public opinion and the powerful institutions - especially the town guard - to his side. Even the portions of the royal army that were stationed in Brimhaven are now under Alexander's command. They're called the Coast Guard, and serve as the Count's enforcers and personal army.

Infrastructure[edit]

The city plan of Brimhaven, with the locales marked.

Brimhaven is a city divided: not just in the dichotomy of vice versus virtue, but in infrastructure as well. The walled-off portion of the city is the best part of town, and the aim of all of Brimhaven's inhabitants is to secure a house there, no matter the depth of debt they have to fall into. These districts officially have no collective name - so as to maintain the illusion that equality is a thing - but the area is often called the Marina, or High District to contrast it with the Low one. The mansion of the city's count, Alexander von Brimm, is situated here, as is the famed Alphonse Apothecary. Brimhaven Dungeon lies a few hundred meters from the docks.

Most of the inhabitants of the city don't enjoy the comforts found within walls, however. The rest of Brimhaven is relatively poor as far as metropolises go, and the people live in cramped conditions: Brimhaven is not a tall city, but in many places it is a deep one. A system of sewers, passageways and underground abodes lies just beneath the flagstones of the streets, readily accessible from many places (although many consider an abandoned, half-buried temple in the northeastern part of town to be the "main entrance"). Other places of interest in the northern parts are Harrow's Circus of the Morbid, a permanent (if ever-changing) attraction, and the Beggar's Temple. The Circle of Mieli, a sacred spot for the devotees of the forest titans, lies barely a mile to the north of the city.

The most run-down and pathetic streets of Brimhaven are situated around the so-called "Low District". Brimhaven is built on top of older ruins, having been the location of a sailing village in times past. The Low District was built over an ancient graveyard, and when the earth was further weakened by excavations, it could not hold: a massive area collapsed into a sinkhole, killing thousands of people instantly. Now the countless exposed skeletons, both recent and ancient, lend the place its nasty nickname "Bone Boulevard". The lowest dregs of society live in and on the edge of the sinkhole, and many sewer tunnels and basements still poke out into the open air in the sinkhole's sides.

The parts of the city that are pressed against the sea are a little more bearable than their northern brothers. The Institute of the Word and the Law serves those who wish to train themselves in the arcane arts but can't afford to or aren't connected enought to enter the Spire. The Mornmist Fishmarket caters to the seafood needs of the populace, and Savor's technological marvel, the Bell, offers people the experience of their lifetime.

Religion[edit]

Of all the cities in Pansaer, Brimhaven stands as perhaps the most religious, challenged only by Dharuum, whose religiousness is concentrated on that which comes after death. Worship is legally limited to the titan pantheon, and the town guard has heavy punishments for those who openly display a different faith. That doesn't mean there are no animist believers or cultists in Brimhaven - far from it, in fact - but they either make sure not to be found out, or spend their time in the Dungeon.

As a port city, the god with the strongest claim to fame is Ahti, followed closely by Luni. Ahti is worshiped because placating him might bring fortune (or at least stave off misfortune), while Luni is worshiped by the many sickly and poor inhabitants of the city - and as the passive goddess she is, she rarely listens. The four other gods of the pantheon are also actively worshiped, and temples, altars and lesser places of worship exist for all of them.

Religion is sometimes associated, perhaps foolishly, with the ideals of good and justice; it certainly isn't so in Brimhaven. The widespread corruption of the city means that those who in daylight sing along at sermons and speak words of praise to the gods can just as well go whoring and gamble in the night, and see no incongruity in this. The people of Brimhaven expect lip service from each other, but tend to look down on actual believers and fanatics. Thus, the Brimhaven saying: "Never trust a man who listens at the temple."

Threats & Strife[edit]

Brimhaven is a rotten city. The greatest threat the city constantly faces comes from within. Count Alexander is a greedy man, and his ruinous politics and schemes tend to hurt his citizens greatly. Downtrod and placated by sin as they are, they don't speak against this tyranny, or try to rise up against the Count in anything more than muttered curses. Surprising for such a place, there are few rebellions to quell for the town guard and Alexander's own personal army, the Coast Guard.

The presence of The Institute of the Word and the Law means that there is quite a bit of arcane potential in Brimhaven. This often turns against the city: necromancy is a very common practice among the wizards of Brimhaven, since the Low District provides such ample raw material, and carriomantic corpse-puppets stalk the night in the slums. Some among these necromancers are skilled enough to perhaps threaten the west at large, if their morbid art isn't quelled.

While Brimhaven currently stands as a self-governing city without anyone to challenge the tyranny of its Count, this might not stay so. The other major cities of the west, especially Fort Brunid and Redford, are bitter at the city's state - an independent mover makes for a poor trade partner. Fort Brunid constantly reminds Brimhaven of its nominal fealty to the crown, but if the King manages to rouse the rest of the west to action and cobble together a proper army, civil war might be in stall for the southern coast.

Locales[edit]

A - Brimm Mansion[edit]

The opulent center of the Marina, the mansion of the Von Brimm noble family is the centerpiece of the city. The view from the Marina to the sea is a telling one: the gorgeous, oak mansion of intricate design, dwarfed by the hulking stone monstrosity that is the Dungeon, like a petty tyrant and its guard dog in building forms. Brimm Mansion was built by Alexander himself: before his time, the Von Brimms lived in an out-of-city estate. The building is fashioned of oak and the masonry is yellow-green gneiss.

That is, it usually is. Alexander has a flair for the dramatic and loves sudden changes, not just in his politics but his habitation. Some say this is a ruse to further throw people off, others believe it a sign of an uneven mind. In any case, Alexander constantly has his mansion renovated: towers might rise up overnight, only to stumble when he bores of them; the outside walls might be painted a dozen times a day; and so on. Alexander and Vanessa seem to think nothing of living in a perpetual construction site. Alexander also has a love for the exotic, and his house is decorated and guarded by strange beasts: basilisks from the Wastes, chimera from the Prairie, hydras from the Fells...

B - Brimhaven Dungeon[edit]

A grim name for a grim place: the Brimhaven Dungeon serves as a collective penitentiary for the worst of the worst in the west. When a criminal commits a crime and is caught, they are judged - fined, imprisoned, sentenced to death - in their place of origin. The most despicable among them, as well as serial repeat offenders, are taken to the Dungeon instead. It serves as a deterrent against criminals in the whole kingdom; even the word "Dungeon" is rumored to make criminals quaver.

This is because the Dungeon is a haven of torturers. Imprisonment sentences are relatively rare in the western justice system, with hefty fines and physical punishments far more common. The Dungeon is an exception: people are imprisoned from a few months to the rest of their lives, and face excruciating tortures for the duration of their stay. Those who leave are often broken people, and spend the rest of their lives in Brimhaven doing odd jobs. Escaping is near-impossible, considering the Dungeon is located on a barren rock, as well as because of the island's other purpose.

Only half of Brimhaven Dungeon serves as a prison. The other half is a massive port-slash-barracks-slash-armory that serves as the headquarters of the Coast Guard, Alexander von Brimm's private army. Their insignia, black halberd and anchor on an azure background, adorns the sails of the army's tall ships as well as their imposing tower shields. Brimhaven Dungeon, and the powerful regiments of soldiers it houses, are the key reason Brimhaven is such a powerhouse in western politics.

C - Alphonse Apothecary[edit]

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"Would you like some aspirin with you heroin?"

Manned by Alphonse Brewer, a dunner alchemist, Alphonse Apothecary is a wonderful example of the strange duality of Brimhaven. The apothecary serves its main function as a place of healing, where Alphonse and his skilled apprentices (of which many are members of his extended family) create potions and balms and sell them at a considerable price. But the apothecary also openly sells narcotics of all kinds, as is the custom in Brimhaven. Indeed, Alphonse will often sell a drug and a way to counter its bad effects to a person in one purchase.

D - Institute of the Word and the Law[edit]

The Spire is the center of arcane lore and of wizardly teaching on the continent of Pansaer, but that doesn't mean magic isn't taught anywhere else - it's just not taught as well. One of the lesser institutions that provides education in the wizardly ways is the Institute of the Word and the Law in Brimhaven. Those who train at the Institute are poor replacements for Spire-trained wizards, but the Institute can provide a basic education, and is often a springboard for those who intend to attend the Spire.

The problem, as always, is Brimhaven. The wicked city has a tainting effect on the Institute: the practices of the students, never mind the teachers, are less than savory, and the most supported practices in the Institute are those that deal with violence, subterfuge or necromancy. This means that only the Evocation, Illusion and Necromancy schools have serious tuition here, with minor interest in Abjuration and Enchantment. Furthermore, Institute-trained wizards are more likely to "go rogue" than Spire attendants. As an interesting tidbit, the Institute has the most varied insect terrariums in the world, ranging from the mundane to several gigantic species.

E - Beggar's Temple[edit]

While there are a couple of grand places of worship in Brimhaven, they are all invariably situated in the walled-off Marina. The rest of the city has to make-do with smaller altars and backroom churches. The only exception is the Beggar's Temple: a large wooden church of rough but sturdy build, the Temple serves as a place of worship for the poorer part of the city's population. Only the titan gods are worshiped here, as the city has banned all other religions.

While the Temple's function as a place of spiritual growth is important, most of those who frequent the premises think its secondary purposes are more important still. The Temple provides healing services, protection, and counseling on matters such as birth control and drug rehabilitation. Beggar's Temple does a lot of good in a city where very few do.

F - Low District[edit]

The Low District is to slums what the slums are to the Marina. As recounted above, the Low District was born from the tragic formation of a sinkhole, which the authorities of the city have barely acknowledged, let alone done something about. The middle of western Brimhaven is now dominated by a sinkhole about a mile long and half a mile wide. The sinkhole is roughly 350 feet deep at the deepest point, and the remains of buildings poke out of the rubble and waste. The vastness of underground Brimhaven is accessible through many basements and tunnels that poke out into daylight from the sinkhole's collapsed sides.

And as pathetic as it may sound, people live in the Low District. The lowliest dregs of society, those who can't afford a run-down apartment but also can't leave (due to debt, drug addiction etc.) make their homes (although "nests" would be more appropriate) in half-buried rooms, dusty holes and in small tents. Many of these poor people are harmless, but among them live a large amount of more nasty folk: criminals hiding from the law; killers and abusers looking for easy pickings; and necromancers excavating the plentiful corpses the Low District has to offer.

G - Harrow's Circus of the Morbid[edit]

The pastimes of the people of Brimhaven range from the saintly to the utterly sinful. Harrow's Circus lies heavily on the latter: the name "Circus" might be a little too good for it, as it is little more than a freak show. Some of the people on display are willing and paid (if poorly), while others are forced into labor through threats or outright slavery. Garish signs point people to horrid shows (a decade-long attraction is the Worm Brothers, three goblins who've lost their arms and legs), and those who are not afraid of food poisoning sample the treats available. The owner of the circus, supposedly a dunner named Harrow, has never been seen, and the day-to-day life is run by Miss Twist, a human with an upside-down face.

H - Luni's Hooks Hideout[edit]

Luni's Hooks are one of the many gangs that further jeopardize the safety of non-Marina Brimhaven - which is not to say there aren't criminals in the Marina. Luni's Hooks stand out from the rest through their religious focus: the Hooks are all devout followers of Luni. Following a god of passivity does not make them meek, however; the opposite, in fact. The Hooks are famed as vicious criminals, and their preferred weapon, the hook, is feared on the streets. Perhaps they don't know their deity as well as they think they do.

The Hooks have their main hideout situated near the wall of Marina. Some suggest that the gang's continued prosperity and the ignorance of the town guard suggest that they are connected to the upper class of the city somehow. This is entirely possible. The hideout doesn't stand out from the other buildings of the area in any way: it's a three-story apartment building with a massive basement, as most buildings in Brimhaven are. What's inside is a different story. In addition to a throng of hardened, zealous criminals (the Hooks accept both male and female members), the hideout houses altars to the moon titan, as well as a treasury filled with silver. During nights with a crescent moon, rituals take place in the hideout, and it is said that those blessings make it so that no lock can hold against the Hooks for the rest of that night.

I - Mornmist Fishmarket (Rancid Market)[edit]

Mornmist Fishmarket hugs the shore and extends some ways into a few of the larger piers. It is, as the name indicates, a fish market: all the morsels of the sea are for sale at Mornmist. Whether it's fish, shellfish or sea vegetables you desire, the market delivers. The place gets its name from the mornmist that envelops the lands in the early morning: that's when the market opens.

Come evening, Mornmist undergoes a transformation. The delicacies served here store poorly, and Mornmist is not a rich man's market: the sellers can't afford ice for their goods. Thus, the food beings to go foul, and the stench that emits from those foodstuffs that haven't been sold at that point give Mornmist its late-evening name: Rancid Market. The prices go down the longer the day runs, and come nightfall the poorest people of the slums come to do their shopping. After midnight, the utterly spoiled food is given away to the Beggar's Temple and to beggars from Low District. The Temple's cooks at least try to make the fish edible by treating it with lye; the poor eat it as-is.

J - The Bell[edit]

Savor's actual profession was bronzesmithing, but the young goblin's true passion was always tinkering. The world could be made better, Savor thought, by simple application of natural principles. Meat plus heat equals food. Copper plus tin equals bronze. Thus, Savor would spend his nights awake playing around with metal. In the bath, where many great inventions have been made, the bronzesmith took note of how things placed into water displaced some of the water, and how air got trapped under submerged cups. An idea took shape.

Now Savor runs one of the only tourist services in Brimhaven: the Bell, a technological marvel in the shape of a massive, submersible bell. A rudimentary, hand-operated pump pushes air into the bell, letting the customers breath and stopping the pressure from crushing them into paste. Thus far, the bell only takes the customers on a short dip into the relatively murky water of Brimhaven's docks, but this is enough to evoke wonder. A trip down costs 5 gp and lasts 15 minutes, so it is something only those with coin to spare can afford.

K - Circle of Mieli[edit]

Little more than a mile from the city to the north lies a circle, marked only by the absence of undergrowth and a scorched edge. Those in the know keep well away, for this is the gathering place of the followers of Mieli, the Hunter. Brimhaven is a religious city when it comes to the titan-gods, but Mieli despises urban settings, so her adherents have to leave the city bounds to pay their respects. They do this by succumbing to their wildest instincts: in Mieli's services, people eat and drink in excess and copulate wildly, overseen by a pelt-adorned cleric. The cleric doesn't join in the fun: clerics of Mieli live wild lives all the time - services are the only time this one has to keep in check.

Marina[edit]

medieval_port_by_kurobot-d791orn.jpg
Brimhaven's piers are busy whether they're in the Marina or not.

As mentioned above, the walled-off district of Brimhaven doesn't have an official name, but Marina is as close to one as it's going to get, and is commonly used by the area's inhabitants. Those who live outside the walls more commonly call the area the High District. Marina is a lot calmer and safer than the rest of the city, at least on a cursory glance. Some would argue that the wickedness has merely retreated indoors. Buildings are less crowded than elsewhere in the city, but private abodes are still rare except for the very richest, and Brimhaven's famous basements are ubiquitous here as well.

Surroundings[edit]

The immediate vicinity of the city is pocked by small-to-medium noble estates. They're not as grandiose as those of Redford, as the most important Brimhaven nobles live in the Marina. The area around Brimhaven has historically been of great naval importance, and the landscape is littered with small fishing villages and inland hamlets. These all pay tribute to Brimhaven, nominally for the use of the waters.

Quests at this locale: Down the Well

Skills & Professionals[edit]

Brimhaven is a trade center, and thus caters to all tastes. Furthermore, there are very few restrictions in place as to what sort of material can be sold. Many of the things that would be forbidden in other cities, such as drugs or poisons, are peddled freely in Brimhaven.

All weapons, armor and shields, as well as many pieces of adventuring gear are available in masterwork quality, but this must be mentioned to the merchant beforehand since few keep such items in stock.

Skills[edit]

  • Appraise (up to DC 30)
  • Craft (any that seem sensible; up to DC 25)
  • Decipher Script (up to DC 25)
  • Forgery (up to DC 25)
  • Handle Animal (up to DC 20)
  • Heal (up to DC 30)
  • Knowledge (arcana, architecture and engineering, dungeoneering, history up to DC 20; geography, nature, nobility and royalty, the planes up to DC 25; local, religion up to DC 30)
  • Perform (up to DC 25)
  • Profession (any that seem sensible; up to DC 25)
  • Spellcraft (up to DC 25)

Professionals of all fields can be found in Brimhaven, although the throngs of less-skilled people might make it hard to locate them. Buying a skill check costs DC x 5 gp (rounded down) or 50 gp, whichever is higher. Skills that cannot be used untrained cost twice this amount. These skills can be "bought" from Brimhaven, although for check DCs of 20 and above, a Gather Information check of the same DC is required to locate a proper professional.

Weapons[edit]

The open display of weapons is common in Brimhaven, and might even save a person from being targeted. Most of Brimhaven weaponry is designed for Medium characters, but if you know where to look, Small weapons are always available.

Armor[edit]

Brimhaven extends quite a bit to dry land, unlike many port cities, and thus heavier armor is sold as well. Most armor sold is of Medium size; to locate the few smiths that create Small armor, a keen eye is required.

Goods and Services[edit]

Staying in the port for a day with a vessel costs 2 gp a day for a rowboat or other vessel of similar size, 30 gp for a keelboat or other vessel of similar size, 200 gp for a longship, sailing ship or other vessel of similar size, and 500 gp for a galley, warship or other vessel of similar size. The actual costs may change depending on your relationship with the local authorities, as well as any longer deals.

The gate entrance toll for the better part of city is 5 sp (and at the discretion of the guard), or free to citizens and high-ranking members of known affiliations. Leaving the better districts is free.

Rarities[edit]

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There are treasures for sale in Brimhaven,
if you know where to look.

A DC 15 Gather Information check makes the following items and services available:

A DC 25 Gather Information check makes the following items and services available:

Brimhaven is famous for its open sale of many poisons that are forbidden in other areas. For a little effort, a customer can find the following for sale:

  • Nitharit, sassone leaf residue, malyss root paste, terinav root, black lotus extract, striped toadstool, arsenic, id moss, oil of taggit, dark reaver powder, insanity mist, burnt othur fumes, black adder venom, bloodroot, Medium spider venom, Large spider venom (DC 16, initial and secondary 1d6 Str, 300 gp), wyvern poison, giant wasp venom, deathblade.

Wickerdust is not illegal in Brimhaven, unlike in every single city in the rest of the west, and is sold for slightly lower prices than elsewhere: a pouch goes for around 300 to 400 gp. As always, pushers start increasing the prices for the heavily addicted.

Examples of Townsfolk[edit]

What follows is a list of random personalities and characters that one can bump into and associate with in and around Brimhaven. No stat blocks are given, since for the most part they're not meant to be notable NPCs: that's what the fleshed-out NPCs are for. If you need to play the characters, either wing it or use simple, premade stats (appropriately-leveled, of course).

  • Abi Sinker: Abi has a claim to fame as the oldest living fisherwoman in Brimhaven. As a dwarf, she obviously has an advantage over her shorter-lived colleagues, but at around 240 (she's not sure) she's old even for a dwarf. Abi has slowed down over the years, but she still fishes in the night-time and lugs her plentiful catches to the Mornmist Fishmarket when it opens, selling it to merchants there. She likes to hang out at Mornmist all through the day, and seems impervious to the noxious smell of the Rancid Market. Abi has a constant expression of bored disappointment on her face, and her speech gets very dark sometimes. It's in her nature to react to things pessimistically, and she often reminisces about the "good times" of Brimhaven. Considering she can remember the establishing of the city, she might be on to something. Mechanically: as 7th-level expert.
  • "Eager" Thomas Moore: A wizard of Pansaer will train in one aspect of the Word and the Law: to understand even a single facet takes a lifetime of work, and to undertake two would be a waste of one's time. Thomas Moore, a wealthy merchant with a passion for the arcane, decided to practice all eight Schools. Now Thomas is gray in the hair and cataract has claimed his vision, but he is proud in his ability to rudimentarily understand all facets of magic. Not well, mind you: Thomas is very much a jack of all trades and master of none. Furthermore, his mercantile fortune has been wasted to the high tuitions of the Institute. Thomas lives in a small cabin some ways west of the city itself, but often visits the drinking holes of Brimhaven. He puts on airs of modesty, but in truth likes to boast about his skills, and gets visible happy when people compliment him. The few coppers he has left are spent on whiskey, not tomes, these days. Mechanically: as 1st-level wizard with access to all Schools.
  • Goristo Locustborn: All goliaths are watched over by one of the race's animal deities. Goristo was sure even from a very early age that his was wrong. His family claimed he was Elkborn, but the young goliath was firmly of the opinion that the spirit of the Locust was his. This led Goristo into exile: the conservative belief system of his tribe didn't allow for unheard-of patron deities, which Locust would have been. Goristo travelled long, arriving in Brimhaven when he was an old and bitter man. It was only in Brimhaven that he discovered his divine talents - perhaps the spirit of the Locust really did watch over him. Goristo is a somewhat deranged wanderer, who often leaves the Brimhaven slums to travel, only to return later with clearly false stories of his exploits. He is jovial at first, but grows paranoid of anyone who spends an extended time with him. He smells terrible due to never bathing, and droves of insects crawl in his unkempt mane and ragged clothes. Mechanically: as 9th-level cleric with Augment Summoning and insect plague.
  • Henry the Peddler: As a trade city, Brimhaven has no lack of merchants. Henry considers himself one as well, although his business model is a bit unusual. Henry is a pickpocket and conman who quickly sells the wares he's managed to pilfer, usually to newcomers who don't know him yet. It's not rare that he immediately swipes back the goods purchased from him, meaning that trading with him is always a risk. That said, he can be a relatively safe way to introduce yourself to the Brimhaven underworld. Physically Henry could not be less imposing: he's a tiny man (4' 6'') with tired eyes and a long, black mustache, and he carries himself rather poorly. He almost invariably begins conversations by trying to peddle some stolen piece of gear, often a minor magic trinket. Mechanically: as 2nd-level rogue.
  • Lady in Chains: Deep in the bowels of Brimhaven Dungeon, there's a woman who has never seen sunlight. Born from the desperate, loveless coupling of two long-time residents of the Dungeon, the child was taken pity on by a guard. The standing orders were to kill any children born in imprisonment, but the mother had managed to hide her away long enough for her to grow, and defended her with her body: the guard cut her down, but couldn't bring herself to slay the child as well. The guard knew that she'd have to hide the child, and thus took her to the deeps, for the Dungeon continues far below the waterline. So she stayed, in a cell made as nice as possible, and fed far better than anyone else - she isn't a prisoner, but she can never leave. The guard calls her "Lady" to distance herself from what she did to the child's mother. She's well-read, but the darkness has paled her skin, and the soft voice of her singing in the darkness has given birth to the legend of the "Lady in Chains". Mechanically: as 1st-level commoner.
  • Mary von Fritzen: Mary works at the Beggar's Temple, making food for the poor who are taken care of there, as well as generally talking with them to lift their spirits. She alone sometimes leaves the Temple and walks to the Low District to help people at the source. As she puts it: "if the downtrod won't come to the faith, the faith must go to the downtrod". What makes this so unusual is that Mary is a noble of the prodigious Von Fritzen family. Some among the aristocracy practice charity, but Mary is alone in that she doesn't advertise her good deeds. Mary is a bombastic woman: she laughs as easily as others smile, and cries as easily as others frown. She's a little on the dumb side (her judgment of character is especially atrocious), but truly wants the best for everyone, which can get a little annoying when she keeps vouching for the worst people. Mechanically: as 6th-level aristocrat.
  • Miss Twist: "Mister Harrow is not available" seems to be the most common phrase out of Miss Twist's upside-down mouth. When it comes to looks, Miss Twist could easily be one of Harrow's freaks, but she is in fact a key player in running the Circus. Miss Twist has an upside-down face; she shaves her head bald to further the illusion. She wears a bright-red jacket with dozens of bells sewn into the sleeves, often complimented by short green trousers that highlight her shapely legs. She's playful in speech, and her sometimes off-putting rambles do little to diminish her sexual charisma. Just don't get too close to her: some say Mister Harrow isn't available because she makes sure he isn't. Mechanically: as an aberrant horror (a green slaadMM1) that feeds off of people's amazement.
  • Ox: The Coast Guard, Alexander von Brimm's private army, is very accepting of people of all races and cultures as long as they are strong as well as loyal to a fault. Ox fulfills both conditions utterly: you don't get much stronger than an ogre, and he considers the Count something of a spiritual liege. Unlike many ogres of Brimhaven, he speaks the local tongue relatively well, and will often preach at length about the wisdom of Alexander's politics. Any suggestion to the contrary drives Ox into one of his "moods". Ox's name states everything you need to know about his appearance, but you'd be sorely mistaken if you'd apply it to his intellect - Ox is outright savvy for an ogre. He does look a little comical dressed in the aquamarine scale mail of the Coast Guard, wielding his Medium-sized halberd (it's all they had available) in one hand. Mechanically: as 2nd-level ogre fighter.
  • Rido of a Hundred Gangs: Rido was born in the slums of Brimhaven right before the sinkhole appeared. That dark day took his parents, and sent the young buga down a dark path. He chose his name, which means to fall, and joined a minor gang. A life of crime was preferable to a life of begging for scraps, he reasoned. Rido didn't have much to offer in skill or intelligence, but he had anger to spare: he served the role of maniacal enforcer very well. Too well, in fact: after one too many fights among his own, he was kicked out (trying to kill him was thought to be too risky). So Rido joined another gang, and another, and another... Every time the same story; after all, he had a lot of anger. Now he is known as Rido of a Hundred Gangs, and works for anyone for a price - he's no longer allowed to join a gang permanently. Rido is scarred throughout, and looks malnourished. He seems constantly irritable, and sinks into violent rages for the pettiest reasons. Mechanically: as 3rd-level barbarian dual-wielding goblin longdaggers.
  • Shavona bin Groke: Sally wasn't born in the east, but after her marriage of practicality to a wealthy ship owner, she adopted the eastern lifestyle. And more: Sally's husband told her of the practices of the east, and how death was considered less a tragedy and more a fact of life there. This prepared her for when Ahti's whims took her husband's life at sea. She had a mental breakdown, which ended when she decided to reinvent herself. She became Sally "bin Groke", daughter of Groke, and undertook extensive training at the Institute. Rather surprisingly she excelled, and became a skilled necromancer in only seven years - a record time. She spends her days in her Marina mansion, attended to by finely-garbed skeletons, each with a candle sticking out of the palm of its hand. Shavona herself is still a bit erratic: she forgets things both minor (who the current king is) and major (to dress up in the morning). Then again, she's closer to 80 now - and looks exactly as old - so perhaps that's to be expected. Mechanically: as 8th-level wizard specializing in necromancy.

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