-The Alliance Cartel needs you-
Formed from an allegiance between the three greatest kingdoms and provinces of the northern realms, the Alliance Cartel has been formed. A travelling caravan collective, attracting not only professional warriors but those others with a willingness to strive towards the worlds salvation. Mercenaries, adventurers, camp followers, conscripts and scores of support personnel make up the caravan.
If your expertise lies not on the front line, then perhaps there is another way in which to make use of your particular skill set?
The Alliance Cartel has sent out the call to arms, seeking members of any races or profession. Join up and help defeat the forces of evil seeking to bring damnation and ruin upon our world.
Overhead, high above the wagons and carts of the Alliance Cartel the ‘Wind-Thunder’ floats gracefully: her twin sails filled with air, propelled forth by a mighty Weave Core engine. Her crew is ever ready to engage with the enemy, provide specialised transportation or perhaps to help establish a supply line in harsher climes.
Below the ‘Wind-Thunder’ the Alliance Cartel has begun to form, gathering upon the plains which spread before the great city of Gunthwald. Here the caravan’s wagons are mustering before embarking on this perilous venture. This veritable town and mobile army comprises of several internal factions, guilds and bands. Each recruits new members, mustering ready to offer their support and unique expertise. These organisations are camped within their own quarters (listed below), fulfilling separate roles within the Alliance Cartel whilst working towards the same ultimate goal.
Seek out the recruitment officers and join the expedition!
The Martial Quarter
The Order of Flame & The Silver Bell
‘The Order of Flame & The Silver Bell’ has grown in power, a sinister organisation of Witch Hunters led by members of the Northern Alliance Inquisition. These grim individuals are sworn to root out all outlawed magical practices and bring those culprits to justice. There can be only one penalty for endangering the world thus... That penalty is always swift death.
It quickly became understood that utilising Necromancy & Demonology causes the fabric of reality to thin. Resulting in a fragile weakening between the planes. This is what caused the ‘world cataclysm’ to occur. Therefore Necromancy and Demonology have been decreed illegal, any who partake in such practices Outlawed, their lives forfeit.
The population, ever wary of sorcery has truly turned against those who would call upon it since this great fiery cataclysmic event. As superstitious fear grips the world this has made the practice of Sorcery dangerous indeed.
Many simple spells and incantations look, to the untrained eye, as acts of devilry and demon worship. Many spell components are mistaken by those without education as ingredients suited to the practice of demonology and necromancy. Such components names reinforce this superstition: Eye of Bat, Cowards Heart, Horn or Beast, Flesh Bark... It is small wonder that the commoner cries ‘Witch’ where none exist. It is The Order of Flame & The Silver Bell who comes calling to investigate. These cold hearted, hardened warriors suffer not the Unliving or Demonic to survive, no matter how pitiful the cries nor convincing the excuses.
The Sherriff’s Office & The Court Coroner
The law is a subjective matter across the world of Averthia. Different lands respect different laws, and within the Alliance Cartel all conduct is expected to conform to the laws of the Northern Alliance. The laws are simple, strict and brutally enforced. The Watch may provide security for the Caravan, yet it is the Sherriff whom enforces its laws. The Sherriff will often call upon the Watch to provide martial support whilst resolving any lawless disputes.
Only the Elective Tri Council can dispute the Sherriff’s decisions, by removing the current Sherriff from office and appointing a new one. Such a practice is practically unheard of however, therefore a Sherriff is free to act however he or she deems appropriate whilst carrying out their given duties.
A Sherriff may declare an individual to be a lawbreaker & a criminal, and issue a ‘Warrant of Capture’ for any person who falls within his or her jurisdiction that has breached one of the stated laws. Such ‘lawbreakers and criminals’ are still afforded the right to live, and thus must be captured alive to fall within the scope of the law.
For more serious breaches of the law, cases must be brought before the ‘Law Courts’ (see the Elective Tri Council) which if successful result in the decree of Outlaw for the accused.
An Outlaw has no legal protection or social standing. Anyone declared to be an Outlaw can be slain out of hand, and their head may presented to the Sherriff ‘as the wolves head’ (a gruesome practice originating from the Werewolf uprising in 1012 where werewolves heads could be presented at the Sherriff Office for payment or a reward in silver coins).
Any subject found guilty of studying or practising either Necromancy or Demonology is arbitrarily declared Outlaw, however The Order of Flame & The Silver Bell pay handsomely for information that leads to the apprehension of any whom are in league with Demons or Necromancers. A state of frustration for the Sherriff, whose coffers do not run as deep as those of ‘The Order of Flame & The Silver Bell’.
A ‘Court Coroner’ works under the Sherriff, investigating any and all deaths. The Coroner holds jurisdiction whilst declaring the ‘causes’ of death however, and any death that arouses suspicion of murder or foul play must be investigated fully by the Sheriff’s Office. Should a Sherriff fail in this duty, the Coroner may invoke ‘Suspension’ and have the Sherriff detained pending a Law Court trial, in order to prevent any Sheriff ever acting ‘above the law’.
Neither the Sherriff, nor the Coroner is allowed to sit for Election within the Elective tri Council, and the Court Coroner is often viewed with distain by the Sheriff, who is unlikely to appreciate such attentive scrutiny.
With offers of coin for ‘Outlaws’ and ‘Warrants of Capture’ the Sheriff’s Office attracts bounty hunters, adventurers and mercenaries who have no objection to hunting down a quarry and bringing it back, dead or alive for the reward. The Sheriff will present a bounty board each time the Caravan breaks for camp, with the details of any bounties available for collection.
To see justice done, an aggrieved party must attend upon the Sherriff and state their case. Subject to the law, a Bounty will be issued, and this forms the legal contract by which a quarry may be pursued. Bounty hunters must be mindful of their own actions, else find a portrait of their own presented for collection.
The Arms Masters Training Grounds
The Arms Master has been paid to bring to the Alliance Cartel tuition in all forms of armed combat. Perhaps you are a duellist? Or prefer something heavier, like a Halberd or Broadsword? Maybe longbows and rifles are your weapon of choice? No matter what your instrument of death, the ‘Arms Master’ is an expert with every weapon, and their expert tuition is yours. For a fee.
This is little more than a few beds thrown together with basic medical supplies, bandages and fresh water. Both surgeons and attendants rush here during times of conflict to receive the steady stream of wounded during moments of conflict. In here the floor is strewn with straw and saw dust hiding the rust red/brown patches and lavender oil masks the scent of death. Hanging on the wall a bone saw sits idle, waiting to take off shattered limbs whilst bandages are hung to dry. There are ever vacancies within the surgery for skilled surgical practitioners and it is a task not for the faint of heart.
Trackers and Rangers fill the ranks of the Hunters. They enjoy coming back and sitting around burning embers late into the evening telling tall tales and displaying their exotic trophies upon their lodge walls. The smell of smoke, furs, pine and fresh soil cling to those who tread the pathways of the wilderness. It is the hunters which scout for the Alliance Cartel, ranging ahead and keeping the pathways clear for the following wagons and carts. Comprised of experts at tracking and foraging it is the hunters that ensure that even in the harshest weather no bellies go empty and no souls are lost to the freezing cold. Theirs is a hard task and a dangerous one too. All too often the Hunting hunters will encounter dangerous foes long before the might of the Alliance Vanguard can be brought to bear. Members of the Hunters quickly earn the respect of those within the Alliance Cartel, though all too frequently this is posthumous recognition.
The Alliance Vanguard
Comprised of professional soldiers and mercenaries the Alliance Vanguard is the primary fighting force of the caravan and ultimately sees itself as the rightful power behind the expedition. Even though this viewpoint is not entirely true. The Alliance Vanguard holds to its own command structure and its members tend to follow the instructions of its officers above all others.
Leading this mobile army is the Lord Commander. A title bestowed only upon a most tried and tested battlefield leader who must be as capable of engaging the enemy as he or she is of sparring with the intrigues of court and all of its political machinations.
The Alliance Vanguard must hold the line against any and all foes, else the caravan will come to naught but ruin. Theirs is a solemn duty, and one not taken lightly by these stalwart soldiers.
Courage, Strength & Loyalty: these three are the watchwords of the Vanguard. Find yourself failing your duty and expect only shame and summary execution. Do your duty well, and see both wealth and respect grow in equal measure. As the Alliance cartel makes travel the Vanguard marches in force at both the front and rear, with skirmishing units deployed to protect the columns flanks against surprise attacks. Upon making camp the Alliance Vanguard protects the caravan, setting pickets and patrolling the caravan’s outer borders.
Leadership of The Watch falls heavily upon the shoulders of the Watch Commander. It is to he or she that the burden of ensuring the safety of the Alliance Cartel falls. Sure, the Alliance Vanguard sees to the pickets and brings up the fore and the rear. Yet The Watch has a duty to protect every member of the Alliance Cartel, from without and within. With a baggage train made up of some of the world’s most unscrupulous grave robbing cut throats, would be thieves, unlicensed prostitutes, conmen, beggars and pickpockets there is always plenty to be watching. To mention nothing of scores of warriors from a variety of races and cultural backgrounds, with gambling and drinking thrown into the mix... Now add the meddlesome Mages guild, The Brotherhood and worse still the ‘would be’ – ‘could be’ politicians and you have one flammable situation. Now let the Order of The Flame & The Silver Bell swan about like some sort of law unto themselves hunting cults in every shadow and life gets interesting and potentially very, very short. Then again, the pay is good. Better than that of those Alliance Vanguard soldiers at any rate, and don’t they envy it? The Watch isn’t made of soldiers: warriors perhaps... But lawyers and judges too. To be a member of The Watch you have to be a measure of each. A member of the Watch is a civilian with a badge: exercising their powers to police their fellow citizens with the consent of the general citizenry. An alternative to military power, where right does not mean might. So Night Watch or Day Watch, button on your uniform and join the ranks.
The Mages Quarter
The Mages Guilds
Bordering the Civil Quarter the various Mages Guilds of Averthia have unified with each other in a show of support. The world is no longer a mage friendly place. Any use of Demonology or Necromancy has been outlawed. Studying or practicing these arts has been forbidden. The fearful and superstitious population must be made to understand that using ‘The Weave’ itself is not an inherently evil act, and that great and good things have come from the study of sorcery. The Weave provides a powerful weapon against the evil beings that these Rifts attract. To the assorted mages, wizards and spell casters accompanying The Alliance Cartel the mages guilds are both a place of learning and a much respected refuge. Facing the superstition and fear of the masses, the mages guilds remind the world, no mage is ever alone.
The Mages Conclave: Operating from within the Mages Guilds is the Mages Conclave. This chamber is cloaked in secrecy and it is here that the master mages of the guild make decisions that often shape the destinies of all who travel within the Alliance Cartel. The Order of Flame & The Silver Bell have long suspected that within this chamber the Mages flout the laws that all decent and law abiding citizens of good standing would adhere to. Rites, Rituals and all manner of Summoning is said to take place here, yet none have been proven.
The Magic Users Sanctum: This is a unique and powerful chamber that is warded and protected against trespass and ill will. It is here, within this quiet and shadowy room that a mage will risk spirit walking, leaving behind their fragile physical form and exploring the world as an incorporeal spirit. This is a challenging use of sorcery and fraught with risk. Therefore the mages guild seeks to ensure the safety of those within. Often only a single Mage will be allowed within at any one time, though for covens this rule is often relaxed. Further more, powerful enchantments exist to monitor and observe the Sanctum. It would be a resourceful being indeed that could penetrate these defences and not incur the mage guilds swift and fatal retribution.
The College of Sorcery: a place of learning and study. It is here that apprentice mages will learn the most rudimentary elements of controlling and shaping the Weave. Here mages sit and pore over dusty tomes and worn spell books, seeking to unravel the mysteries and discover the formulae to new or lost magic’s.
The Library & The Desk of Time: The library has shelves stacked with scrolls and spell books available to members of the mages guild. The power contained within those magical texts holds the secrets which make up the life blood of all good mages. Knowledge is power; power has a price; that price must always be paid. The desk of time however, is an ancient relic from a lost age. Allegedly this is the desk of the great arch magus Merzie. It is said that this desk can undo time itself, turning back the seconds with the world unknowing. True or not, this desk makes an excellent place to sit by candle light poring over those ancient spell books. Even reading at the desk refreshes the mind, easing the strain that comes with shaping the Weave and giving mages both clarity and focus.
The Enchanting Table: This table sits quietly in one corner. This table is adorned with the powders and instruments required to those who wish to craft enchantments within materials to produce magical items. The costs of such materials is high, so the mages guild keeps a well stocked and functioning crafting station ever ready to meet its members needs.
The Civil Quarter
The Elective Tri Council
To be a member of the Elective Tri Council one must stand for election at a parliament, held roughly once per quarter. Would be council members present themselves as candidates for election upon the first night. Upon the morning at the hour of Eleven the votes are collected and the results tallied. The highest scoring voted member becomes the Consul; followed by the Magister and Praetor of the Court.
The Elective Tri Council leaders then each select up to three individuals to assist them and to vote upon council matters, these individuals become ‘lay-members’ of equal standing.
Those who sit at the Tri Council hold command over the Alliance Cartel. A Council Hearing may be called by any of the three leaders, and only one of them is necessary to attend for the Council to ‘stand’. A written record of each Council is taken, and this document is submitted in triplicate to the three ruling kingdoms. The names of each member present are taken and how each voted is recorded.
At each gathering of the Elective Tri Council a single, commissioned officer from the Vanguard must be present. A minimum of at least a single hours notice must be provided to the vanguard command prior to any council sessions being held to allow time for an officer to arrive.
Voting: As each vote is cast, the voter is free to make a single ‘statement’ supporting their decision. This must be a single sentence, and must last no longer than ten seconds. The ‘Military Tribune’ must vote on all decisions first, followed in order from Consul, Magister, Praetor and then from left to right from the Council lay-members. In the event of any ties in voting, the Military Tribune will cast an additional deciding vote. If he or she has been swayed one way or another then they this may differ from their original vote.
At least once per month the Council will gather and cast votes as the ‘Law Courts’.
During the Law Courts the Sherriff and Coroner will make short statements for the prosecution of individuals summoned or else presented to the court. Witnesses may be called upon, and failing to act as a witness when summoned may result in a fine or subsequent criminal charge of obstruction as decided by the Sherriff.
Any individual may then present their case by way of defence against accusation, and whom may also call defence witnesses of their own.
In all cases the accusation is made first, followed by the defence and summarised before the Elective Tri Council makes a decision. – During the Law Courts there is no Military tribune, and one is not summoned.
Due to the nature of the roles, neither Sherriff nor Coroner may stand for election as a tri Council member.
The Sages Pavilion
The Sages Pavilion is where members of the learned professions meet to discuss a variety of theories and seek to bring a common intellectual understanding to the members of the Alliance Cartel. This is often seen as rabble rousing, as these discussions frequently lead to heated debates and consequently riots and civil unrest. The Watch has condemned the Sages Pavilion and continues to petition the Elective Tri Council to make such gatherings outlawed. As yet this has not occurred, and with so many prominent members of the Alliance Cartel enjoying the spectacle, this is unlikely to change. That such open disputes provides the council an opportunity to determine the ‘will of the people’ the Sages Pavilion has become a place to gather and consider your political ambition.
The Chapel of Faith & Devotion
Within the chapel are relics and religious icons representing the pantheon who stand watch over Averthia. With so many religions presented in such a small space, this chapel sometimes sees friction between the various faiths. Primarily however, this is a place of healing where all may come to be cured of their ailments and ills. Here those with devotion to those higher beings may offer worship away from the troubles of the world. Within the Chapel of Faith & Devotion a powerful enchantment lies over the interior... One capable of revealing and destroying those of the unliving or infernal realms.
The Merchants & Crafters Quarters
Within these accumulated wagons and pavilions the smell of smoke meets the ringing sound of hammer upon anvil. A disorganised chaos of crates filled with ore makes up the interior as sacks of firewood and coal spill across the floor. Anvils, hammers, bellows and water troughs... Here lies all manner of goods set to the crafting of metalwork.
Smiths hammer out horse shoes and nails whilst blade smiths and armour smiths forge the arms of warfare. Cordite and sulphur brings the scent of spoiled eggs as the gunsmiths work upon their death dealing firearms whilst Artificers and Engineers turn out works of ingenious creativity amid the flashes and bangs of chemical reactions and elemental power. Steam hisses and steams, metal rings upon metal and coin and gemstones are passed from hand to hand.
In the quieter corner small amounts of gold are spun into fine thin threads, silver flashes in the darkness and gems twinkle as the light briefly catches them. The jewellers work their tools with steady hands and surgeon like precision whilst eager customers wait with baited breath. Wedding rings, bejewelled necklaces and gaudy brooches nestle in soft padded trays alongside masterfully worked objects with both the integral stability and sturdiness necessary to hold weave power.
At least once a day a fist fight or argument breaks out between the Gnomes, Goblins and Dwarves as tempers flare as hot as the forges fires and professional discourtesies are answered.
Even if the forging processes are not your thing, this place is a hotbed of gossip and conversation in the mornings as the forges heat up slowly and the crafters chat amongst themselves before the work of the day.
After nightfall the forges tend to go quiet, the failing light impairing the quality of the processes within. Come night time the crafters gather around the fires enjoying a few well deserved comforts and recovering from the exertion (and burns) of the day.
The Common Market Vendor
The Common Market Vendor is a worldwide trade organisation who set a pricing guide on all trade and services within the Averthian world. This organisation encourages crafters and tradesmen to follow their pricing structure, to ensure a fair trade rate for all. Fairness aside, this has proven to be a particularly profitable venture, and the Common Market is the single wealthiest organisation in the world, closely followed by the Weave Bank.
The Common Market Representative who travels with the Alliance Cartel enjoys a life of luxury and relative comfort, safe in the knowledge that The Common Market invests considerable finances into its employees, and takes a dim view upon any who would seek to disrupt its trade efforts.
The Common Market Vendor sometimes runs a closed auction and attendance to this gives would be buyers the opportunity to acquire items of impressive quality. Rare herbs, manuscripts and fine exotic items come ‘under the hammer’ alongside ancient relics and artefacts of power.
Entry to the auction comes with a small 2gp fee, though this provides a guide booklet to the upcoming listings.
The Alchemist Guild
Nestled as close by the Crafters Quarter as possible sits the Alchemist Guild. Here the Alchemy labs are free for members to use and this becomes a place of bubbling fluids and glowing lights as the guildsmen and guildswomen brew their concoctions. Here you will find the members chattering away, sharing recipes and discussing concoction ideas.
Should you be looking to purchase a potion, or have the ingredients necessary to make one, this is the place to come. Whether buying or selling, this guild welcomes a steady stream of trade and a Guild Master is ever on hand to discuss specific commissions.
The Herbalists Store
Joined alongside the Alchemists Guild, the Herbalists Store is the perfect place to acquire your herbal needs. Whether you’re browsing the displayed goods or have some to sell or trade, the Herbalists Store has something for everyone. Garlic to ward against vampires? Mandrake or Ghost Cap perhaps? Come over, and peruse at your leisure.
Settle down for a nice pint and wait for all the trouble to blow over... Or perhaps prop up the bar and drink your troubles away! Huddled around tables groups of adventurers pore over maps late into the night drinking away the rewards of previous ventures. The sound of musical instruments entrances the patrons and draws a crowd as the lanterns flicker softly. As the Alliance Cartel faces its threat filled future those who travel with it are ever eager to wet their lips and enjoy a few quiet moments. Come to the tavern and let your coin purse empty and your tankard fill.
The Counting House
Here an unusual collaboration between Gnomes & Goblins has taken place. Mistrustful of each other, with years of feuding and bloody warfare between them, these two creative races have come together to create Averthia’s first ever worldwide banking operation. Settling into its fifth year of trading there is a Counting House in every major city and in most towns and villages too. The Counting House has decided to support the Alliance Cartel, both financially and politically. The Goblins and Gnomes see no profit in further Rifts tearing through the realms and now a Counting House wagon trundles alongside the caravan. The majority of coin throughout Averthia is minted by the Counting House and their currency is accepted in most lands across the mapped world.
The Counting House consists of powerful enchantments designed to protect the bankers and their coin deposits from harm and theft.
Kept safe within a mighty and impenetrable fortress, guarded by the Gnomes and Goblins and their hosts of contraptions and mechanical defences the Counting House vaults lie undisturbed. No-one and nothing has as yet breached their security, and their guarantee of financial protection is absolute.
“Bank with us: 100% safe. 100% of the time” is their slogan. Set up your ‘Last Will & Testament’ at a mere 5% settlement fee. NO transaction fee and accounts accrue interest at a rate of 1% rate, calculated at the start of each year.
The Mystics Hut
Hidden within the caravans Merchant Quarter a quiet, mystical pavilion sits. Inside a Sorceress of unique mastery over the Art of Divination sells her services. Pay the fee, and delve into your future. This service is not for the faint of heart, and a dire warning to any who would seek out this service. The Order of Flame & The Silver Bell see this Sorceress as little more than a Witch, who’s power is unlike any seen before across Averthia. Many a customer of this Seer has sought to avoid an undesired fate, only to fall headlong into that which they tried to escape. Yet for every tale of woe, there are stories of salvation. Warnings heeded, fame and riches found... Seek her out, cross her palm with silver and listen as she unravels the plans of Fate & Fortune.
Gabbii Gobbo’s Gubbin’s
Described as “A fantastic phenomenal exquisite emporium of bewitching and alluring, and sometimes quite unremarkable shinies!”
This strange sight greets members of the Alliance Cartel whenever this crazy capricious Goblin fancies showing up. First thing in the morning, last thing at night... Seemingly without rhyme or reason and quite unexpectedly this trader arrives with cries of “Come buy me shinies!”.
If you can catch this Goblin while she is around, then a bizarre sight will greet your eyes. Festooned with trinkets and assorted relics from across the world there is something for everyone here. The Common Market Vendor treads lightly around Gabbii Gobbo, as there is something that watches over this Goblin with a maliciousness rarely seen within the world. Would be thieves and assailants have occasionally made off with purloined goods, only for their re-animated remains to stand silently and handless at the edge of camp at the break of dawn the next day... The Order of Flame and The Silver Bell have tried to bring charges of necromancy against this Goblin, yet these have yet to be upheld.
The Gambling Den
This smoky facility provides a place of retreat for those who enjoy gambling, gaming, drinks and other, dubious pleasures. Here all manner of society rubs shoulders and neither social standing nor racial characteristics play any part of the establishment’s policies. It is rumoured that this is a favourite haunt of members of the Thieves Guild & The Brotherhood, though these are rumours that the proprietor vehemently denies. Whether you prefer games of chess, cards, skill of manual dexterity or simply desire a place to enjoy either company or solitude, The Gambling Den has a place for you.
The Slums & The Baggage Train
The slums and the baggage train are located nearby the Merchants Quarter.
If you have a sturdy wagon, pavilion or other covering that provides accommodation or acts as place of business then you’re welcome within the Baggage Train. There are no rental fees to pay, however other permits may be required as appropriate to the locale. Here you will find the sleeping quarters to the majority of the folk travelling with the Alliance Cartel.
The Slums are for the lawless and the desperate. The slums are predominantly populated by the poorest who follow most armies looking for opportunities to advance their life or make enough to scrape an existence. The opportunities are endless and in addition to the many that live here within the law, there are many outlaws seeking to lie low. Within the slums life is cheap and at night the shadowy canvas of the huts and wagons makes this a foreboding place to tread. Here even The Watch tread lightly and only ever come armed and in numbers.
So the real question is, where do you fit in?