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Meta Thursday (Banlan Backlash!): Underground Organizations


The underground organizations of the port city own the sewers and the passages under the Nyamo Wall. Before it was constructed, Nyamo had an extensive sewer network and even a primitive processing plant. but it was built, the sewers were split into two separate systems and any connecting tunnels between the two sides were sealed off. The sewers on the visiting side were extending to beyond the city walls to facilitate the removal of sewage.

From the original thieves’ guild that operated in the sewers, two new organizations sprung forth. The first was the reformed Thieves’ Guild, and the second was the Smugglers’ Guild.

The two guilds worked together to create hidden passages between the two sides under the wall, while the Smugglers’ Guild built routes to the outside through the new tunnels. With the rise of undead sightings underground, Nyamo and the Order of the Staff reduced their presence underground. Today, they seldom ventures underground, only doing so for specific reasons, especially given that the undead often walk there (and when left alone seem to go away).

The Thieves’ Guild operates much like they did before the Nyamo Wall. Many of their illegal activities, from begging to heists, are controlled from the Timaeus side of the city, led by Jung (N Male human rogue 10). Operating from an undisclosed location underground, few know his true identity and fewer know his whereabouts.

Hollow_copper_coin_1_Satang_(front)The Thieves’ Guild uses a strict compartmental organizational system. Ground level operatives know their immediate supervisor and perhaps a small number of other operatives that they have to interact with, while supervisors only know a peer or two and their direct boss. When the need arises, members can identify one another using thieves’ tokens.

Most crime—as with everything else in Nyamo—is strictly controlled. The Thieves’ Guild is swift to punish those that operate illegally without its permission, as they ultimately work under the authority of the Order of the Staff. Revolution and chaos is bad for the mages of Timeaus, and bad for business for the guilds. To appease the government and maintain the illusion of law, the Thieves’ Guild occasionally offers up the perpetrators of unsanctioned illegal activities to the Order of the Staff for punishment.

The secret entrances to the tunnels under the Nyamo Wall to the other side are controlled by the Thieves’ Guild, guarded by hidden posts and traps. They work closely with the Smugglers’ Guild, regulating the healthy flow of goods and information.

Travel and information exchange between the two sides of the city became very limited when the Nyamo Wall was built, completely controlled by the mages of Timeaus. A market arose for foreign goods and information on the Timerian side, and the Smugglers’ Guild grew quickly, soon matching the power of the Thieves’ Guild as the thirst for news from afar grew. It is currently headed up by Ving (CN Male human bard 11), a famous entertainer in his own right; few are aware of his double identity. Ving uses his celebrity to rub elbows with Nyamo’s visiting elite, gathering information and making contacts he can use to supply the Timerians with the goods and rumors they seek.

Underground_tunnel_RCW_02The Smugglers’ Guild enforces its rules against unsanctioned crime even more vigorously. Too much crime brings unwanted attention, and as the Order of the Staff actively prosecutes smuggling into Nyamo, the Smugglers’ Guild tries to keep a low profile. The government is aware of the Smugglers’ Guild, but has been unable to infiltrate it—the mages of Timeaus are willing to let them operate in a limited fashion, as their presence reduces crime in the foreign section to practically nothing. This doesn’t stop the Order of the Staff regularly conducts interdiction operations against the Smugglers’ Guild to try to curtail the flow of information, however.

Neither of the guilds officially support the Banlan Brotherhood—openly supporting a rebel group would bring the wrath of the Order of the Staff down on them, and that would be bad for business. Lately though, the Banlan Brotherhood’s efforts to infiltrate the guilds have started to reap rewards. Several supervisors are now staffed by Banlan sympathizers; there are enough now in both guilds that they can easily move information back and forth.

The biggest coup, though, is that Ving’s right hand man, Sunyo (CG Male human aristocrat 8) is a Banlan Brotherhood agent. When the Banlan require the Smugglers’ Guild’s help, he arranges the schedule so that rebel operatives are manning key posts. If interaction with the Thieves’ Guild is required, he exerts the limited influence he has to great effect. Even if he can’t arrange their schedules directly, he often knows when agents will be in place, and can adjust his plans (and the plans of the Banlan Brotherhood) accordingly.


The Thieves’ Guild and Smugglers’ Guild of Nyamo are the sort of tool GMs can make use of in their own games; Ving can perform anywhere there is a rebellion brewing, and Jung’s controlled territories might not be sanctioned by the government, but just as fiercely supervised!

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