Sign of the Squandering Snail: Causens’ Corner
Written by Fraser Ronald
Causens’ Corner is the Temples writ small. Filled with desperate individuals barely eking out an existence and cursing fate and their own circumstances with equal venom, the Corner is on the outskirts of the Temples. The result of this is that the Corner is not as dangerous as many other parts of the Temples. Individuals with at least some small reservoir of self-esteem and personal integrity might be found in Causens’ Corner. Still, most of the residents would be as happy to deliver a knife in as a slap on the back.
The Red Fisher
The three story building has a stone walled first floor, but its second and third floor are built of wood and project out from the first floor wall a few feet. The windows on the first floor, and there are a few, are all shuttered. The windows on the second and third floors are open and wisps of pink curtains are visible. Dangling from the second floor’s overhang, two pink lanterns flank the doors. The doorway requires a few steps down as it is a foot below the level of the street. Hanging from a bracket beside the door is a crudely painted plaque with a red bird holding a fish in its beak.
Fishmonger Gereslack is the master of this brothel. While somewhat clean and in good repair, this is still a dark and hopeless place for the whores, and even for Gereslack who had some hopes of moving beyond his place as a pimp.
Fishmonger Gereslack, a pimp
38 year old Male Human Rogue 3: CR 3; Size M; HD 3d6+6; hp 22; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14; BAB +2; Atk +3 melee (1d6+1, shortsword), or +4 ranged (1d4, dagger); SV Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3; AL CE; Str 12, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 13.
Skills: Bluff +8, Disable Device +5, Gather Information +6, Hide +8, Intimidate +8, Knowledge (Local) +7, Listen +5, Move Silently +7, Open Lock +6, Search +5, Sense Motive +8, Spot +8.
Feats: Combat Expertise, Dodge, Persuasive.
Class Feature (Rogue): Evasion.
Possessions: Dagger, leather armor, pouch with 25 princes (sp) and 5 wrens (gp), shortsword, traveler’s outfit.
Background: It’s not as though a person grows up dreaming of becoming a pimp. Still, Gereslack had few options. He might have become a thug, he could have become a loanshark, but the fact is, he prefers trading in flesh. He pretends it isn’t a crime, that no one is hurt, forgetting that he took women and girls in desperate situations and forced them to sell themselves. He is not a romantic, though he will often say that he is. Along with pimping, Gereslack sometimes involves himself in people smuggling, moving young women and boys to use as slaves elsewhere.
Gereslack always carries his weapons with him and he wears his armor, but under his clothing. He always wears a heavy, large cloak in the hopes of hiding armor and weapons.
Tactics: Gereslack doesn’t like physical confrontations. He will try to talk his way out of any fight, either by bluffing or intimidating. Once the conflict has been avoided, he’ll pay someone to kill or otherwise remove the threat of the individual with whom he was in conflict. If forced into a fight, Gereslack likes to feint. He’ll take whatever advantage is available and fight as dirty as necessary to win. If things look particularly bad, he’ll try to flee, or at least fight defensively if retreat is not possible.
Open barrels are piled one their sides beside this small, squat building. Smoke slowly snakes from the tin chimney reaching up from the roof.
This is the cooperage of Alassorn of Karnhorn. Along with the usual brewers, dry goods merchants and smugglers, Alassorn also sells barrels for other purposes, such as storage for a dead body and rocks, to be dropped somewhere out at sea.
Alassorn of Karnhorn, the local cooper
37 year old Male Human Expert 2: CR 1; Size M; HD 2d6; hp 11; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12; BAB +1; Atk +1 melee (1d6, club), or +3 ranged; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2; AL CN; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 9, Cha 13.
Skills: Sleight of Hand +7, Craft (woodworking) +10, Disable Device +4, Forgery +7, Hide +7, Knowledge (local) +7, Listen +3, Move Silently +6, Profession (cooper) +4, Search +3, Spot +3.
Feats: Alertness, Skill Focus (Craft [woodworking]).
Possessions: Artisan’s outfit, club, dagger, pouch with 30 princes (sp).
Background: Alassorn is something of a success story. Once a career criminal, a turn at the oars of one of the Duke’s galleys killed Alassorn’s anti-social tendencies. Finally released after he had served his time, Alassorn apprenticed with the only craftsman who would accept him, Hesrick, the cooper at Causens’ Corner. Hesrick, unlike Alassorn, knew nothing of the criminal elements in the Temples and worked only for legitimate businesses. While he survived, one could not call him successful. Alassorn, meanwhile, was willing to help out his old criminal cronies by supplying things like weighted barrels to easily dispose of a body in the bay, or false-bottomed barrels in which to smuggle goods. With the money made through his illicit dealings, Alassorn did something completely out of character—he acted honestly and in good faith. He purchased the cooperage from Hesrick for a price everyone had to agree was more than fair. Hesrick went to live with his eldest son who had a fairly prosperous farm outside the city and Alassorn was free to contract with whomever he pleased.
Tactics: It’s been quite some time since Alassorn has needed to protect himself, but he still remembers how to fight. He’ll try to escape from any fight, though, before he’ll willingly engage in one. If forced, he’ll fight defensively while trying to get a feel for his opponent. If he has a few rounds in which he has successfully protected himself, so his opponent has not landed an attack, Alassorn will actually attempt to fight as regular, until he gets hit, at which point he’ll return to fighting defensively. If he has a chance to escape a fight, even one in which he’s doing well, he’ll take it.
A small shack rests against a taller, four storey structure. The shack has a single door and two windows beside the door. Hanging in the window are bolts of cloth. Beside the door is a small plaque with crossed needles over a spool of thread.
This is the abode and workshop for the local tailor, Wesent. As there are so many Wesents in Bowden, this Wesent is known as Wesent Tailor. As most of the individuals of the Temples cannot afford to pay someone to make their cloths, Wesent works mostly for Gereslack’s doxies and those single men who have some small coin in their pockets, such as Murnac, Gereslack himself and Alassorn.
Wesent Tailor, the local tailor
36 year old Male Human Expert 2: CR 1; Size M; HD 2d6; hp 7; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12; BAB +1; Atk -1 melee (1d6-2, quarterstaff), or +3 ranged; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +5; AL LN; Str 7, Dex 15, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 5.
Skills: Appraise +7, Craft (clothing) +10, Diplomacy +2, Forgery +7, Hide +4, Knowledge (local) +6, Listen +4, Move Silently +5, Profession (tailor) +7, Search +4, Spot +3.
Feats: Dodge, Skill Focus (Craft [clothing]).
Possessions: Artisan’s clothing, pouch with 10 dublings (cp) and 10 princes (sp), quarterstaff.
Background: Wesent Tailor’s parents were indentured to a rich family who lived on an estate just outside of Bowden. Wesent escaped at a very young age and has not seen his family again. He arrived in Bowdern destitute and afraid. He spent some time running with a gang of young thieves but never felt as though he belonged. He had come to know many people in the Temples, and had only found one man he through he could trust. He became an apprentice to a small, insignificant tailor who only succeeded in keeping their two bellies full. When his master grew ill, Wesent took over the business. What little money they had stashed away, Wesent spent on a funeral for his old master. Now, Wesent does what he can. He is not particularly good, but he makes a living. He cannot see a time when he will have enough wealth to marry and start a family, but he has no other skills on which to fall back.
Tactics: There’s very little that Wesent will fight for, save his small shop. He’d just as soon receive a beating as fight back, hoping that by not fighting back, the enjoyment the bullies and thieves take from beating will be minimal, and that will persuade them to move on. If his life or shop is threatened, he’ll take up his quarterstaff and hope to drive off the attackers with a show of strength. Since that won’t be forthcoming, he better hope they are worse fighters than he.
This building, though small, is clean and sturdy. It has a door with a handle and its shutters open upward rather than to the side. A plaque on the door shows a hammer, pegs and two boards of wood.
This is the home and workshop of the carpenter, Cessforn. He is known as Cessforn the Younger, as his father, Cessforn the Elder, also lives in Bowden. While he is a denizen of the Temples, Cessforn has some real carpentry skills and he has worked in some of the better sections of Bowden. Because he fears moving his father—whose care would cost more coin than a carpenter could raise elsewhere in Bowden—Cessforn remains in Causens’ Corner.
Cessforn the Younger, the local carpenter
51 year old Male Human Expert 2: CR 1; Size M; HD 2d6; hp 9; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11; BAB +1 Atk +0 melee (1d6-1, quarterstaff), or +2 ranged; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +3; AL LN; Str 8, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 10.
Skills: Craft (Carpentry) +9, Diplomacy +5, Disable Device +4, Gather Information +2, Hide +2, Knowledge (local) +5, Listen +5, Move Silently +3, Spot +7, Tumble +6.
Feats: Alertness, Skill Focus (carpentry).
Possessions: Artisan’s outfit, pouch with 15 princes (sp) and 5 wrens (gp), quarterstaff.
Background: Like his father, Cessforn the Younger grew up in the Temples. It’s all he knows. He apprenticed under his father and actually has some skill in carpentry. He could likely move out of the Temples, but he has a wife and children and not much actual coinage, rather his wealth is in his business. Finding another place where he could live with his father close by for as little as the Temples would be difficult, if not impossible. As such, Cessforn works throughout Bowden, earning a fair amount of money, but lives and has his shop in the Temples.
Tactics: Cessforn isn’t a fighter, but if his family is threatened, he’s more than willing to use the stout staff he always carries with him. He knows the Temples, which means he knows violence. Not much of a fighter, Cessforn will fight defensively. He’ll try to give his family a chance to escape. That done, he’ll attempt to escape himself. If he is in his own neighborhood, he’ll try to get those people who know him involved, at least to find help. Cessforn has plenty of friends—for a man of the Temples, he’s honest—so there might actually be people willing to help.
This building, made of chipped and marked wood, rises some four storeys. It is girded with many wood staircases and landings. Doors open onto these landings. There are many windows, some with shutters, some with merely the remains of shutters.
This is a tenement, barely still standing. The landlord, Jileforis, lives elsewhere in the Temples, but frequents Causens’ Corner to keep an eye on one of his many investments. Whenever Jileforis is in the area, he has two of his Toughs with him. Residents of the tenement include Cessforn the Elder and some widows making an honest living as seamstresses, doing work for Wesent Tailor. Cessforn the Younger also pays the widows a small sum to help watch over his father, who is slowly losing his mental faculties.
Jileforis, a landlord
47 year old Male Human Expert 3: CR 2; Size M; HD 3d6; hp 14; Init +4 (+4 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+4 Dex); Attack +2 (+2 Base) melee, or +6 (+2 Base, +4 Dex) ranged; SV Fort +1 (+1 Base), Ref +5 (+1 Base, +4 Dex), Will +6 (+3 Base, +1 Wis, +2 Iron Will); AL CE; Str 11 (+0), Dex 18 (+4), Con 11 (+0), Int 14 (+2), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 16 (+3).
Skills: Bluff +10, Diplomacy +10, Gather Information +8, Hide +6, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (local) +8, Listen +6, Profession (landlord) +7, Spot +3.
Feats: Iron Will, Martial Weapon Proficiency (longsword), Persuasive.
Possessions: Courtier’s outfit, daggers (3), longsword (masterwork).
Background: Jileforis came to the Temples as a child. His father was a failed businessman who had lost almost everything, including the family home. As a young man, Jileforis left home with the intent to make money. He remembered the life he had previously led. Jileforis became the practical partner of three, the two other offered money and connections. Jileforis brought the ides and insured their implementation. Soon, Jileforis no longer needed his partners and so he took what he could and left. They soon faded into the Temples, while Jileforis rose to the top. Along with properties, Jileforis owns boats, warehouses, and a trading company. He continues to visit his tenements in the Temples, always bringing some hired muscle.
Jileforis does not carry coins with him because he does not pay for anything with his own hand. If payment is required, one of his toughs will deliver the payment. Jileforis always travels with at least 4 toughs. One of the toughs will have Jileforis’ purse, which will include 35 wrens (gp) and 10 braces (pp). Jileforis always carries his longsword, and is not adverse to using it, though only when doing so presents no danger to him.
Tactics: Jileforis has thugs to do his fighting. He didn’t rise to his position so he could dirty his hands in fisticuffs. He’ll have his toughs level the opposition, or at least screen his retreat. If absolutely forced into combat, Jileforis will fight defensively, all the time attempting to intimidate his opponents, or buy them off. Any opponent that stops his attacks based on threats or promises will have a price on his head the second Jileforis is out of danger.
Toughs, the guards and other toughs hired by Jileforis
Male Human Warrior 2: CR 1; Size M; HD 2d8; hp 12; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14; BAB +2; Atk +3 melee (1d8+1, longsword) or +4 ranged (1d4, dagger); SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will -2; AL LE; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 11, Int 9, Wis 7, Cha 10.
Skills: Climb +1, Hide +4, Listen +1, Move Silently +3, Spot +1.
Feats: Blind-Fight, Power Attack.
Possessions: Dagger, leather armor, longsword
Tactics: These toughs aren’t particularly smart, but they are smart enough to try to flank opponents and to gang up when they can. After two rounds of combat, they might try power-attack, but only if they have regularly hit an opponent.