Many of the global principals that hold true throughout Thedas are repeated here. Whether it is called a syndicate, group, coterie, gang, or guild, each collection of criminals has a leader and at least one second in command. Crime families have long and deep histories in Orlais, so most groups have a well-developed hierarchy with planned successions and they have cornered a particular market.
These groups are divided into two main market types: business in a certain territory and business of a certain specialty. A syndicate will run a larger town, while major cities might support more than one, and Val Royeaux is home to several. Other specialties can run from the general assassination or thief skills to the highly specialized bards within the Empress’ court.
Bartenders are the most common gatekeepers between clients and those they hire. Due to their visibility and accessibility, they are recruited by any organization to perform a number of functions, but are always given plausible deniability in addition to handsome payments. They handle mail and carrier pigeon messages; though take care to never snoop. Knowledge is a dangerous thing for the bartenders. They are the first ones questioned by the military or interrogated by rival criminals, and so they are not required to have loyalty to a particular crime boss under most circumstances.
As with most major groups, failure to complete a critical mission is a death sentence. It is up to the leader of each group to decide if the mission was critical or not.
- The Elusive T, head of the local organization. Operates out of ** can’t tell if we picked a name for the Inn.
- Jaques, T’s first lieutenant.
- Pierre, T’s second lieutenant.
- The Southern Cross, aka Lydia Croix, head of the local organization. Operates out of The Silk Stocking, a high-class brothel.
- Claudette Marin, head of the local organization.
The bosses of organizations frequently adopt a code name, as will the top operatives in a specialty coterie if their employers wishes to advertise specific skills. The crime heads have no restriction on the types of names they wish, for who is going to tell them otherwise?
For top operatives: Bards frequently adopt the name of a bird suited to their appearance or personality. Assassins will chose a nocturnal animal, informants a dark or ghostly name, and thieves a synonym for vanishing or names based on the wind. These are only convention guidelines, as an individual needs to choose a name they believe suits their purpose and their style.
Communication is usually clouded with code to prevent the good citizens of the world from overhearing nefarious deals and providing some deniability to the participants.
Some commonly used codeEdit
- Horse – chevalier
- Magic box – a place to hide from authorities
- Grazing grounds, pasture, plot of land, etc. – dumping ground for a body
- A song on the wind – a message sent via carrier pigeon
- An echo – a reply to a message
Common criminal schemesEdit
- Hapless Child - bard pretends to be helpless and in need of rescuing. Victim is enticed to help "save" her, and as a reward is offered dirty favors. Then gets his throat slit instead.
- Seeing Red - Victim is provoked to anger to attack the bard or take her to the room to force himself upon her/hurt her. Instead gets his throat slit.
- For Hire - Bard pretends to be an ordinary prostitute to convince the Victim to go with her to a secluded place. Then he gets his throat slit.
The underworld finds itself in a precarious balance between the desire of its leaders to amass power and to retain control over what they already have. As such, it is common for territorial bosses to have fragile alliances with one another, and for specialty bosses to pay appropriate homage when entering into a territory boss’ land.
Those towns that have formed allegiances house carrier pigeons to reach one another. People must pay to use these pigeons, however, and alliances that increase profit are more likely to be maintained. The same is true for specialty work. When a crime is committed, local authorities are likely to be called in to investigate, decreasing the ease with which the resident underground can function. Bards and assassins that request permission to carry out their job, and pay the local syndicate for such permission, are far less likely to be turned into the authorities.