Not every organisation is meant to stand the test of time or achieve fame (or infamy), some people and the organisations they work for will only last as long as the lifetime of the founder (if that), and will achieve nothing more than petty larceny and a footnote in history.
The Broken Ring is one such organisation, founded from the ashes of another thieves’ guild, it runs a minor operation on the isles of Callidyrr, Corwell, and Snowdown, barely generating enough money from its illegal enterprise to remunerate its agents for their efforts
Twelve years ago, Thauntiver the Broken (so named for his tendency to adopt the disguise of maimed beggars) was one of many pirates in service to the High Captains of Luskan, ironically spending most of his time monitoring new arrivals to ensure they were not thieves (who better to catch a thief, than another thief).
Over the previous 20 years, the thugs and thieves in the employ of the High Captains had gradually come under the sway of a secretive cabal of mages known as the Arcan Brotherhood. By 1334 DR, Thauntiver and those remaining loyal to the High Captains were aware of the shadowy threat moving against them and were attempting to resist, they failed.
Thauntiver fled to the Moonshae Isles, hiding aboard a Calishite galley. He disembarked at Snowdown and gathered to himself a band of followers among the outcast and the disaffected of Snowdown society, using his experience from Luskan to forge a new organisation that would exploit the good nature of the peaceful ffolk.
Thauntiver has made agreements with local criminals and Nelanther pirates to create a network of spies, smugglers, bandits, and thieves that is beginning to influence the black market trade growing around the Moonshae Isles.
Headquarters: Isle of Snowdown, Dhunrune
Members: 60 members, plus 20 “Eyes”
Leader: Thauntiver the Broken
Secrecy: High, only Thauntiver is aware of all members, their locations and missions.
Symbol: A circle not fully closed.
The Broken Ring is very simply organised. Thauntiver the Broken is the leader, known only as the Ring Master. His lieutenants, known as “Rumours”, operate as fishermen in Dhunrune, Kingsbay, and Kythyss delivering orders and collecting updates from agents in Corwell, Callidyrr, and Snowdown. These lieutenants know only to leave and collect information from a secluded spot near Dhunrun, and they are paid handsomely not to read the coded messages or ask questions.
Beneath the “Rumours” are the “Eyes” who are stationed in a number of port settlements along the coasts of Callidyrr, Corwell, and Snowdown. These spies listen and watch for interesting events, and pass on orders or information between the Rumours and the agents. The Eyes are usually beggars, lunatics, vagabonds, and other people largely ignored by the rest of society.
Finally the agents of the Broken Ring are those that do the work itself. They might be bandits tasked with intercepting travellers or caravans, thieves tasked with pick pocketing or burgling the unwary, thugs to intimidate the weak willed, and other lawless individuals.
Agents are tasked with certain missions based upon information provided by the Eyes to the Ringmaster, who then assigns missions through the Rumours to agents. The proceeds of these missions are then returned to the Rumours and then to the Ringmaster. The Eyes are ever watchful for those agents who do not return the proper share of the profits to the Rumours and the Ringmaster, those betraying the Broken Ring usually suffer an unfortunate accident.
Lastly are those working with the Broken Ring but not part of the organisation, usually pirates from the Nelanther Isles that are passed information about lucrative cargoes or passengers on ships moving in and about the Moonshae Isles. The pirates attack these ships (or sometimes settlements) and the Broken Ring receive a share of the ill-gotten gains in thanks.
Those members of the Broken Ring working in the same settlement are aware of their fellow agents and their local “Eye” who provides orders from the Ring Master, but they have no knowledge of other agents or Eyes in other settlements or other islands (unless they are informed and ordered to work together).
Dogma / Motivation / Goals
Not every organisation has a secret goal or patron, some are driven by the most base desires of their members; greed, lust, envy. The ultimate goal of Thauntiver and the rest of the membership of the Broken Ring is to do little more than acquire as much in the way of gold and riches as possible. They care little for political power or magic (beyond that which they can use to augment their capabilities to acquire more money), care nothing for such lofty aims as immortality or omniscience.
Membership / Recruiting
The Broken Ring recruits from already existing criminal gangs in any settlement that it chooses to expand its operations into. Those that refuse soon find themselves competing against a larger and far better informed organisation. Eventually rivals are forced to survive on the least of opportunities, or attempt to join the Broken Ring on much less favourable terms.
The Broken Ring never attempts to exclusively run all criminal operations in a settlement, it always leaves a number of independent gangs and rogues to distract from their own activities (and to falsely implicate if the authorities become to wary).
The Black Knife: This small, single masted, 40 man ship is one of many Nelanther pirate ships working with the Broken Ring to intercept lucrative cargoes and passengers on ships heading to and from Baldur’s Gate, Calimshan, and Waterdeep.
The captain of the ship is one Thya Duerduum, known as the Black Dwarf, who has led her crew ably for 30 years and is known as one of the most vicious and foolhardy pirates in the Nelanther Isles (having lost 3 ships already to well protected targets, and often dangling sailors from the mast by their own entrails).
Thya is growing tired of her life as a pirate, largely due to the increased numbers of privateers trying to capture the Black Dwarf and her crew. Thya has increasingly taken to haunting the southern shore of Corwell (with its many sheltered coves), or the northern coast of Snowdown, from which she is now taking to striking inland against poorly defended caravans and even settlements
Rodgyr pen Rodhri (Neutral, Human – Ffolk, Expert 1): Rodger is a simple fisherman, the latest in a long line of fishermen who lives in southbay of Kingfish in Cantrev Kingsbay. As he advances in age he has sought other means to secure his finances and ensure he does not burden his children, this involves running messages for unknown sponsors in return for gold.
Thauntiver “The Broken” (Evil, Human – Tethyrian, Expert 4): Thauntiver is a jack of all trades, having survived as a sailor, pirate, pick pocket, and most recently a magic user in service to Mask. Using the skills from his former lives, and his desire for survival (which he believes money is the key to that survival), Thauntiver has setup an organisation of like minded, lawless individuals, that are happy to prey upon the wealthy in order to acquire their riches.
Thauntiver poses as a fisherman in the tiny village of Dhunrune on the north coast of the Isle of Snowdown. He lives in what appears to be a modest ffolk residence, which in reality has extensive hidden cellars where Thauntiver lives in idle luxury, planning the activities of his agents and collecting his share of the wealth.
Sphere of Influence
Moonshae Isles: The Broken Ring currently has activities only in the Isles of Callidyrr, Corwell, and Snowdown.