Fences and Smugglers, Guilds and Merchants

Fences and Smugglers

Although the assassin, drug, poison, and slave trades of Waterdeep are largely confined to Skullport, the City of Splendors is home to a fair share of illegal commerce. There is a large resale market for purloined goods, many of which are stolen in one ward, sold in another, and then displayed prominently by their new owners in a third. Some of the known fences and. dealers in contraband of Waterdeep are described below.

Balthorr "the Bold" Olaskos: Balthorr (N male Tethyrian rogue 8) is a hearty, loud-voiced, bubbling fellow with a ready smile and firm handshake. He is an expert on the currency, uniforms, and badges used by most realms of Faerûn, and he can make up colorful stories about the history of particular items on the spot. He owns Balthorr's Rare and Wondrous Treasures offering a wide selection of curios. Balthorr's apparent honesty is belied by his willingness to purchase coins, gems, and regalia with no questions asked, although if he suspects an item is "hot" he offers only 40% of market value. Balthorr has long been a spy for the Shadow Thieves, and, now that the guild has returned to Waterdeep, he has grown increasingly involved in their affairs.

Ildar "the Duke of Darkness" Orsabbas: Orsabbas (CE male Tethyrian expert 5) is stout, fun loving, and slightly pompous. He is the owner of Orsabbas's Fine Imports, a shop stocked with odd items from far across Faerûn. Known as "the Duke of Darkness" for the masked, sinister guise he wears during nobles' feasts, he enjoys making threats, dancing, and seduction while in costume. Ildar goes to such feasts in part to, examine the tapestries, wines, and perfumes, for he specializes in fencing such items, paying 30% of the value. Ildar buys such items with no questions asked, earning him the nickname "the Fingers," but his price always drops dramatically if he recognizes the item as stolen or "hot."

Orlpar Husteem: Orlpar (CE male Chondathan aristocrat 1/rogue 6) is the bored, thrill-seeking, cunning younger brother of Lord Orbos. From his house on Golden Serpent Street, Orlpar deals in spices, scents, wines, and drugs, purchasing goods at 50% of their market value, and selling them at a tidy profit to jaded young scions of the nobility. He occasionally deals in large and unique thefts that have the town buzzing. Orlpar can be reached through his employee, a ne'er-do-well hanger-on named Hala Myrt (NE female Tethyrian commoner 1) who frequents the Grinning Lion. She arranges meetings with Orlpar at the Grinning Lion and then delivers the goods herself at a later time (when Orlpar has a convenient alibi).

Orlpar has long had an arms-length relationship with the Xanathar Thieves Guild. In recent years, however, that relationship has grown much closer, allowing Orlpar to corner the market on haunspeir, mordayn powder, and tekkil with the guild's quiet backing. Orlpar's vaults are guarded by a death tyrant and the wizard Helmyn Faunspiel (CN male Illuskan wizard 9), whom Orlpar keeps well supplied with haunspeir and mordayn powder. Orlpar's cellars link to the city's sewers and, in recent years have become something of a safe house for the Xanathar Thieves Guild (see Agents of the Eye).

Phalantar Orivan: Phalantar (NE male Chondathan human rogue 7, Snake Blood feat) is a native of far-off Hlondeth, with dark olive skin, a shaved head, a manicured black beard, and a gentle smile. The owner of Phalantar's Philtres & Components always smiles gently and moves smoothly and quietly. He sells exotic medicines, spices, herbs, and rare substances used in the making of perfumes, scented oils, poisons, and spell components. Phalantar deals with adventurers and arcane spellcasters regularly and is fabulously rich. He buys magic items, no questions asked, at 40% of the market value. Finally, Phalantar sponsors adventuring bands in return for a share of their loot (substances he can sell in his shop) and bankrolls some Sword Coast mercenary companies in exchange for a share of their profit and plunder.

Guilds and Merchants

Economic activity in Waterdeep has been dominated by the city's guilds for more than one hundred years. Their management and skilled control of commerce has brought Waterdeep to its current prominence as the premier center for trade on the Sword Coast. Although their avarice, ruthlessness, and greed have nearly destroyed Waterdeep twice in the past, the guilds have also brought the city great prosperity. The Lords must recognize all guilds, and applications for guild formation are rarely granted. No new guild can overlap the provenance of an existing guild because the Lords prefer that competition exist within guilds rather than between them.

Guilds have widely varying degrees of influence, but no official precedence. The guilds are rarely if ever united. They constantly ally with and strive against rival guilds, prominent noble houses, established trading costers, and the Lords themselves. Some guilds work closely with the Lords, providing essential city services, while others are specialty guilds that wield influence only in the Market.

All guilds have a guildhall, which acts as a headquarters, showcase, meeting place, central clearinghouse for guild business, offices of the guild officers, and (sometimes) place of business. Within a guild, individual ranks vary, but usually they include the following: Master, Elders, or Council; "senior members"; and Apprentice or Prentice or Novice. Guild law, the rules under which specific trades are conducted, are distinct from city law, but they can never conflict with or override city law or the intent of such laws. Guilds can never restrict all trade to themselves; the Lords are adamant in enforcing the right of merchants and tradesfolk to operate outside the strictures of the guilds if they prefer. Obviously, guilds cannot be held accountable for such persons, and tradesfolk operating outside the guilds are not entitled to guild rights and privileges.

The current roster of Waterdhavian guilds (and guildhalls) includes the following-establishments.

Guild Masters

Some of the city's most notable guildmasters include the following individuals.

Maxeene Rhiosann: Maxeene (NG human Tethyrian human expert 12), Lady Voice of the Council of Musicians, Instrument-Makers, & Choristers, is a large woman given to voluminous robes and dazzling, upswept sculptures of hair. Her voice is thought to give praise to Milil with every note, and she is legendary across the city for the hours-long performances she gives at intimate gatherings of cultured nobles. Since the death of Kriios Halamabar in the middle of his eleventh term of office, Maxeene has served as the Council's interim Master Musician and will continue to do so until the next election in the Year of the Haunting (1377 DR). Because Maxeene has publicly stated that she has no desire to hold that office, there is now widespread jockeying among the leading musicians of the city for position, leading to barely submerged tensions within the Council and within the leadership of New Olamn.

Hilithiimm Turnstone: Hilithiimm (CG male Tethyrian human expert 14), the Master Plumber of the Cellarers' & Plumbers' Guild and owner of Turnstone Plumbing and Pipefitting, is a middle-aged, balding man with ample girth and a ready laugh who has the trust of the Lords, the watch, and the nobility. He has led the guild responsible for digging building foundations and keeping the sewers of the city functional and safe for many years, a job he hopes to one day turn over to his son, Jhalossan Turnstone (LG male Tethyrian human expert 9). The Turnstones are legendary for their discretion, for in the course of their duties they have learned many secrets of the city that the Lords and powerful merchant families do not want revealed. Unbeknownst to anyone, including his son, Hilithiimm is now the enslaved thrall of Nexil Vendyl, one of the Savants of the Dark Tide, whom he visits regularly to have his enslavement renewed. The aboleth allows Hilithiimm to act as he would normally with the notable exception of steering away contingents of Cellarers from the aboleth-ruled portions of the sewers.

Arnagus the Shipwright: Arnagus (LG male human expert 10) is a strong, vital man with broad shoulders; a beaming smile, a ruddy, clean-shaven complexion, and a healthy shock of long, white hair approaching 65 years in age. While not of noble blood, he grooms himself well and dresses in expensive finery. He is genuinely friendly with everyone he meets, but he often has little to say - even to friends he's known for years. Arnagus is the wealthiest shipbuilder in Waterdeep, with the best reputation and prices to match. He is very influential within the Order of Master Shipwrights, and he is a skilled haggler and trader as well. He keeps a sharp eye on goings-on near his docks, often aiding the City Watch in their investigations.

Rhazbos Redbridle: Rhazbos (CG male Illuskan human fighter 6/expert 3), a former mercenary and experienced caravan master, is now a stout, jolly man of advancing years, too busy (and fat) to take to the road on adventures any more. He makes his living breeding and training horses in Waterdeep, and he is now a ranking member of the Stablemasters' & Farriers' Guild. He also owns and operates a large and successful stable. Rhazbos was once an adventurer, and he might take up to two tendays (at the most) off to tutor fighters if they offer him enough monetary incentive, including meals, and have a place (for example, a comfortable private house) where he can stay.

Organizations of Waterdeep

Organizations of Faerûn
Lands of Faerûn