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Thief's Guild Proposal

by Steve Miller


I don't recall whether this was ever put in front of the WotC Book dept. or not, but here is part of a novel proposal I wrote back in 1999. Maybe you can find some ideas for your DL games in it.

Daavyd Nelgaard: A 34-year-old human male of mixed Ergothian and Solamnic descent (his mother was an Ergothian peasant, his father a Palanthian merchant who was among the first wave of Solamnic refugees to arrive in the Empire). He joined the Gwynned branch of the Ergothian Thieves Guild at an early age and rose through its ranks until the master thieves finally let him act on a life-long ambition of going to Palanthas and laying the foundation for its eventual liberation of Palanthas, the Jewel of Solamnia. (The mighty city has been occupied by the Dark Knights since the Summer of Chaos.)

Under Daavyd's guidance, the Palanthian guild has been reshaped to closely resemble those found in the Ergothian Empire, transforming it from a vehicle to make a few criminals rich into a more integrated part of the lower scale of Palanthian society. He has also been running an effective propaganda campaign, shoring up hope among the downtrodden that the Knights of Solamnia and the Ergothian Empire will soon liberate the city from the Dark Knights. His years of efforts are on the verge of paying off, as the people of Palanthas are growing increasingly restless under Dark Knight ruler, Lord Kinsaid's oppressive policies. With Khellendros making fewer and fewer appearances in the area, the time to strike may be near. He believes that a coalition of Imperial legions, Knights of Solamnia, the Legion of Steel, and his guild, will be able to finally drive out the Dark Knights with minimal damage to the city and minimal suffering among its citizens.

Too bad for Daavyd that one of his chief allies has ideas of her own. Legion of Steel agent Rindia Rolanta is going to attempt to murder the chief Dark Knight in the city, Lord Kinsaid, something that will throw every carefully crafted plan into disarray.

Rindia Rolanta: This 57-old human woman has spent her entire life in the Solamnic lands seized by the Dark Knights and the dragon Khellendros. During the Summer of Chaos, the invading Dark Knights killed her parents. A short time later, her best friend and mentor Lynched Geoffrey, the then-leader of the Palanthian Thieves Guild was also executed by the Dark Knights, and she has been lusting for revenge ever since.

An intelligent woman with a strong sense of tactics, as soon as she learned of the Legion of Steel, she saw that their nearly invisible network of freedom-minded people-with tendrils into more established groups like the Knights of Solamnia, the various thieves guilds in the large cities of mainland Ansalon, and even the decaying Orders of High Sorcery-could be the perfect tool of her revenge. Over the years, she has gained the trust of most members of the Palanthas Thieves Guild, including Daavyd Nelgaard. For decades, she has been quietly facilitating the ties between the Legion of Steel and the Palanthian thieves and she is so well trusted by both groups that she has total access to their plans. She is also the center of a vast information network consisting of peddlers, street urchins, and prostitutes who see almost everything that happens in the city.

Despite knowing the day of Palanthas' liberation is drawing near, she is growing impatient. She is starting to feel the press of years and her informants in the city have made it clear to her that Kinsaid is up to something unusual. She fears that her chance for revenge may slip through her grasp if she doesn't kill him now. Successful or not, this attempt on Kinsaid will draw the wrath of the Dark Knights down upon the Thieves Guild and the trio of Legionnaires that work with Rindia in the city, destroying years of work.

But now, nothing but revenge matters to Rindia. She will see Kinsaid dead, no matter what the cost.

Sir Elstone Kinsaid: This 50-year-old Knight of the Lily has been an "advisor" to the Lord of Palanthas since shortly after the Summer of Chaos, approving policies from the shadows. A natural leader and administrator, he is chiefly responsible for keeping Palanthas prosperous and is responsible for the successful balancing act the city has been walking for the last few decades.

However, in recent years, Kinsaid has been growing increasingly troubled by the lack of progress by Abrena's Dark Knights, and the mysterious coming and goings of the Blue Dragon Overlord. Despite all the good he feels he has done here in Palanthas, he fears everything is about to come crashing down... and he doesn't want to be crushed under the rubble when it does. By using mystics and sorcerers who are either residents who pass through the city, he has been attempting to scry the future, despite his own strict prohibition of such activities. What these efforts have only caused Kinsaid to fear the future even more. He is planning to steal the next tax payment to Neraka and flee to a new life in Northern Ergoth, the one haven completely free from influence by both the Dragon Overlords and the Knights of Takhisis.

Story in Brief: As the Knights of Solamnia and their allies in the Ergothian Empire prepare their campaign to liberate Palanthas, the Palanthas Thieves Guild and the Legion of Steel is working within the city to both galvanize the citizens against the Dark Knights and to prepare the sewers so they can be used by a special advanced force that will help take the city from within. It is a military campaign that relies on precision and planning, and the goal is to take advantage of Khellendros' seeming lack of interest to return Palanthas to freedom without sacrificing its wealth and beauty in the battle. Guildmaster Nelgaard is a well-loved figure among the lower-classes of Palanthas, and his kind and dedicated nature is highlighted in the first half of the book. We also get to know the current state of affairs in Palanthas, the chief members of the guild and the agents of both the Legion of Steel and the Empire of Ergoth who are present in the city. There may be some sort of romantic subplot involving Nelgaard and some young thief, but generally, this part of the book shows us every day life in the underworld of Palanthas. It also introduces us to Rindia's hidden hatred of Kinsaid, and, in the process, shows us how Kinsaid and his closest allies spend their days... leading the city, keeping order, and plotting to rob the treasury.

However, as the time approaches, Sir Elstone Kinsaid is preparing to "retire" with the assistance of a couple of sorcerers by stealing the next tax payment. As he and his co-conspirators prepare their heist-one of them even serving as a tax collector-a hidden enemy moves against them. Rindia Rolanta of the Legion of Steel stages a suicide raid against Kinsaid. She apparently dies in the process, but another Legionnaire is captured... and he reveals what he knows about the Palanthas Thieves Guild.

Kinsaid decides to turn the attempt on his life and the knowledge of the coming invasion to his advantage. He frames the Palanthas thieves for the theft and leads a hunt against them. As the city is thrown into turmoil, Kinsaid and his cronies prepare to flee.

Nelgaard needs to puzzle out Kinsaid's theft (possibly by freeing the captured Legionnaire, or by finding a dying Rindia) and then prevent Kinsaid from successfully getting away. Maybe the young thief from earlier in the book is killed in the process, or maybe she shows herself to be highly resourceful and ends up being key to Nelgaard successfully saving the Guild and the day. (Kinsaid never revealed to anyone but his cronies that the Empire of Ergoth and the Solamnic Knights were about to strike at the city, assuming that such an attack would give his associates bigger fish to fry than to try to hunt him down once they learned that he was the one who stole the tax money and not the thieves.)

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