Citizens of Sasserine
Sasserine was founded over seven centuries prior by a group of pilgrims led by a priest of Pharasma named Sasserine, who was inspired to found the town after receiving a vision. Not much is known about the early times of the city outside of Sasserine’s death in a battle with a marauding black dragon named Zelkarune. However, after her death, the town gradually grew and expanded until it encompassed not merely the area inside the city walls, but a number of farming plantations lying on the outskirts. The success of the city made it a target for raids from pirates as well as attempts of subversion by the Scarlet Brotherhood, which the city would first encounter some sixty years later.
After a time, a family named Teraknian, descended from Sasserine’s lover, began to rule predominantly over the city as lord mayors, taking advice from the clergy of Pharasma and Irori. Nearly five hundred years later, Orren Teraknian, the last of the lord mayors, began a reign of terror, and launched a persecution of the church of Pharasma in the city. Orren was deposed soon after the city was conquered by the Sea Princes. The Princes kept the existence of Sasserine a secret from the rest of the Vohoun Ocean to prevent the city from being taken from them. The subjugation would last for a century, until the Sea Princes were forced to let go of Sasserine due to internal turmoil in their own lands as a result of foreign wars. The city is still recovering from its century-long domination and isolation, but the people of Sasserine are hearty, hopeful, and in the twenty years since the Sea Princes have left, have done a fine job of introducing themselves to the rest of the world at large.
Patron of the party, Lavinia is the eldest daughter of the Vanderboren noble house. Operating out of her home in the Merchant District of Sasserine, it was Lavinia who first gathered together the group of disparate strangers who would become the Gang of Five, and it was she who propelled them on to their acts of heroism. After becoming romantically entangled with Othar and traveling to Farshore, the colony started by her parents, Lavinia was thereafter kidnapped by her demonic brother, killed by a pawn of Demogorgon, and resurrected as a servant of Malcanthet, the Demon Queen.
Having been freed of her bonds but not her physical form, Lavinia returns to Sasserine to resume her life with her equally unconventional lover.
Treacherous brother of Lavinia, Vanthus’ role in this ugly drama unfolded over the course of the entire adventure. After murdering his uncle and his parents in order to achieve wealth, joining the Crimson Fleet to attain power, and being raised in Demogorgon’s service as a death knight to achieve immortality, Vanthus ended his existence as a craven coward, a squealing larvae attempting to seize the crown of the Prince of Demons for himself. In this, he was murdered by Orcus, who ground him to paste under his massive hoof.
Lienne is a tawny-skinned elven women with a white bob hairdo who favors revealing black leather and daggers. She is the owner and proprietor of It Still Floats!, a boat store in Shadowshore. She is a mature woman, estimated at about thirty years, and is quite beautiful, accenting her natural charms with a flirtatious demeanor. In casual conversation, she curses frequently and uses cutting, cruel insults as terms of endearment.
As Harbormaster of Sasserine, she is mercilessly efficient and dresses professionally and seriously, befitting her station. Her poise and sense of confident bearing are even more pronounced with the might of her office behind her.
When the party needed to rent a rowboat to reach the float the Blue Nixie was moored to, they disturbed her evening of drinking and cards to do so. The rowboat was stolen by Vark’s men as they fled the party’s assault, causing the party to lose their deposit.
Following their reclamation of the Blue Nixie, the party was charged with finding Vanthus, Lavinia’s brother. Their investigation eventually lead them to Lienne’s shop, where an informant told them Vanthus and Penkus, a fellow thief, had rented a boat three weeks earlier.
After digging up some information on Penkus and meeting with an informant supposedly willing to sell out Vanthus, the party was forced to sheepishly return to Lienne’s shop to rent still another boat, this time at a punitive markup. Lienne’s lack of faith in the party’s ability to return her boats was apt, as that boat, too, was stolen.
After this, Lienne was hired on as a deckhand by Captain Malcom Singer for the party’s trip to the Bay of Blood. Thanks to the loss of half of her fleet, she had been forced to take up side work using her other professional skill, sailing, and was paid by her old friend Capt. Malcom to help crew his vessel for the party. True to form, she then proceeded to give the party – most notably Othar – an endless pile of shit.
After dealing with the invasion in Vanderboren Manor, the party returned to Kraken’s Cove to acquire the derelict vessel, the Sea Wyvern. Needing another competent captain to man the reclaimed vessel, the party hired Lienne for the task for a staggering fee, one that was worth every penny, though, as Lienne expertly piloted the vessel back to Sasserine without a hitch.
In the weeks that followed, Lienne was chosen as the party’s candidate for replacement of the vacant position of Harbormaster of Sasserine. After some political maneuvering, the party secured this position for her, and she now has a rather high opinion of the party, in spite of their many and glaring flaws.
The Vanderboren family charlady and, since the death of the Vanderboren parents, Lavinia’s de facto messenger and confidant, Kora brought the messages from Lavinia to the party members and received them at their visits to the manor. She is a wizened halfling woman of great age who keeps her crinkled, white hair in a tightly-wrapped bun and wears elegant and immaculate formalwear. Age has made her quiet and gentle, but she is supremely capable in her duties.
A mess of scars, hair, and bad tattoos topped with a mug even a mother couldn’t love, Soller Vark is an employee of the Harbormaster, Keltar Islaran, and wears leather armor and threadbare vest. When Lavinia attempted to pay off the fees owed on her parents’ vessel, Vark took the money and stashed it for himself, then used the Blue Nixie as a staging point for his animal smuggling business in Sasserine.
When the party attempted to reclaim the Blue Nixie, both Vark and most of his men were able to escape, albeit wounded. The one fatality from this battle was Mera Veskat, Vark’s casual girlfriend, who was killed by a rhogadessa while attempting to light the Blue Nixie aflame. Vark has not been seen since and is assumed to have left Sasserine.
A nervous half-elven teen with conspicuously (some would say appropriately) dirty hands, Shefton approached the party during their inquiries about Vanthus around Sasserine and claimed that Vanthus was in hiding but that he was using Shefton to run errands for him throughout the city. Knowing where Vanthus was hiding, he promised to lead the party to Vanthus for a fee, which they gladly paid. Shefton was subsequently betrayed and killed by Vanthus, his body left to rot in the tunnels beneath Parrot Island.
Guildmaster of the Taxidermist’s Guild, Nemian was approached by the party at his place of business during their investigation of the Lotus Dragons. Following a note found on the body of Penkus, they believed Nemian had some connection to the guild. During questioning, however, Othar became impatient and attempted to blind him with a color spray spell. The spell failed, and Nemian called the town watch, forcing Othar to pay a bribe to not be arrested. Giving up on the Taxidermist’s Guildhall, the party sought other means into the Lotus Dragon’s den. It remains unknown whether Roblach had any connection to them or whether his business just happened to be over it, but he appears to have weathered the recent events unscathed and still maintains a brisk business at the Taxidermist’s Guildhall.
Nemian’s grandmother, Matilda Roblach, 85, was the fifth and final victim of Tegan Kellani, the Sasserine Gut-Tugger. Her passing went largely unmourned, as Nemian was happy to be relieved of the burden of caring for his invalid matron.
A native Kaidan and first-generation immigrant to Sasserine, “Mistah Dakka” owns the only store in Sasserine to sell fireworks and firearms, both imports from his homeland. Mister Dakka is on friendly terms with Kizziar, one of his few firearms customers and his only source of repeat business in the gun running business. A kindly and ancient fellow with a thick accent, Mister Dakka watches Kizziar’s cat when he leaves town.
Mistah Dakka’s wife, Kian Dakka, 61, was the second victim of Tegan Kellani. Her death sent her husband into a spiral of depression, which he now seems to be at last moving out of. Forever diminished by the death of his beloved wife, he nevertheless has recovered over the intervening months, reopening his shop in a newer, larger location. Largely thanks to Kizziar, whom he now considers as a son to him, Mistah Dakka’s business has exploded as a new wave of young Sasserian firebrands come to Mistah Dakka looking to capitalize on the newest in murderous technology.
Mistah Dakka is also the employer of Willie, the sister of Tobin Gray and friend and admirer of Kizziar. As Mistah Dakka succumbs to the weariness of age, the young lady in his employ takes on more and more of the old man’s duties with a glad heart, and for his part, Mistah Dakka is supremely glad for the company.
Matron of the Kellani noble house and the mother of Rowyn, the Lotus Dragons Mistress, Heldrath first met the party in person at the party held at Castle Teraknian in their honor for breaking up her daughter’s guild. While it will remain unknown what this raven-haired woman’s involvement in her daughter’s affairs were (if any), it’s clear she bore the party a great grudge for their part in her daughter’s downfall.
Upon the party’s return to Sasserine from Kraken’s Cove, they were attacked by a group of jugglers on stilts lead by a thin, androgynous woman in a full-body skeletal catsuit. While the party repelled this group, their origin was only suspected as being tied to Heldrath Kellani.
During their fight with Tegan, Heldrath’s other daughter, it was revealed that Heldrath had, in fact, sent the jugglers, though she did not seem to be responsible for Tegan’s actions, as she struck out on her own.
When news came of her daughter’s arrest, Heldrath knew her home was going to be raided by members of the Dawn Council shortly, and unwilling to bear the shame and disgrace as well as the loss of both her daughters, she took her own life.
Headmaster and chief officer of the world-renowned House of the Dragon, the foremost school of higher education and magical instruction in Sasserine (and indeed, the entire Amedio region), Vincent is a hard-nosed, hard-minded man in his mid-forties with impeccably-groomed salt-and-pepper hair and a matching moustache and goatee. Firm but fair, it was Marcos who initially kicked Othar Torr out of school for an altercation with a professor, and it was likewise Marcos who accepted Othar back into the school’s good graces. In the months since becoming embroiled in Lavinia’s employ, Vincent has proved an invaluable ally to the Gang of Five in that his knowledge of the arcane, the planes, of history, and of all things magical has allowed them to destroy one of the many shadow pearls dotting the globe. He has also served as support for the party in their endeavors abroad.
Most recently, Vincent was made aware of the enormity of the task before the party. Reprimanding them for not asking for help with a task so great, he offered the backing and support of the House of the Dragon and incited the group to ask for further help from anyone and everyone they can. With the fate of the world in the balance, he turned much of his attention away from his day to day duties as an educator and shifted it what he can do to ensure that the group’s mission to the Abyss results in a victory. In deference to the party’s sacrifice and in exchange for the world-famous Anthrinoord Ruby, he has pledged to dedicate the most recent wing of the school, a library, to the group’s deceased cleric, christening it the Tobin Grey Memorial Library.
Making good on his promise, Vincent lead a force of mortal wizards and warriors against the demons who held the beach on Demogorgon’s home plane of Gaping Maw. His expert leadership and magical prowess helped to secure a beachhead during the raid on the Prince of Demons, and along with Harliss, Moxie, Worrin, and a number of other accomplices Vincent held their station long enough to ensure the Gang of Five’s victory.
His task complete, Vincent returned to Sasserine with his companions, and now continues to run the institution he cares for so much. Proving that he had truly resolved things with Othar, it was Vincent who suggested Othar be elevated to the position of Dawn Council representative for the Noble District in place of the tragically deceased Worrin Lidu.
Solemn (and some would argue, reluctant) head of the Dawn Council, the ruling body of Sasserine, Worrin was the representative of the Noble District, and had lived in Sasserine since before even the rule of the Sea Princes, when he first moved to the city as a means of retirement from his life of adventuring. A competent wizard in his own right, Worrin’s expansive knowledge of the city and its history made him an easy choice for the role of district representative and lead chair of the council, but it was a burden that has caused him much suffering over the years, with the death of his granddaughter at the hands of Tegan Kellani only the most pronounced.
Generally kind and even-natured, Worrin had believed in the Gang of Five since they first met after the gang dissolved the notorious Lotus Dragons guild, and had been one of their strongest supporters ever since, arranging for their accolades and the awarding of the ‘Spire of Sasserine’, as well as vouching for them when Lienne Tiel suggested the construction of the statue with their likenesses that now adorns the square in the Azure District and providing whatever historical support he could in their travels.
Unfortunately, the most recent favor asked of Worrin by the party – that he send word to officials of major cities to be on the lookout for the destructive shadow pearls – took a tragic turn shortly before the group left for the Abyss, as the pearl in the nearby city of Cauldron was found…and detonated. The incredible weight upon Worrin’s conscience broke the man, and when he arrived some months later in the Abyss alongside Vincent Marcos as part of the group of defenders from the Prime Material Plane intent on aiding the assault on Gaping Maw, Worrin was slain by a demonic onslought while attempting to protect others, Moxie among them. He died heroically, but the damage done prevented any hope of resurrection.
Worrin was given a place of honor in the Sasserine Cemetery, the last of his family line.
Captain Malcom Singer:
When looking to charter a boat to the Bay of Blood, the party found Captain Malcom, a cirrhosis-plagued, dry-skinned, red-bearded, near-as-dammit-a-dwarf of a man to be one of the only captains with the right size of vessel who would be willing to take the job, considering the state of the harbor in Sasserine. Demanding the majority of his fee up front as “I know how you damn adventurers are, always dying after you pay th’retainer!”, he crewed his vessel with – among others – Lienne Tiel, the daughter of one of his old friends. His vessel, the Tittyfish, is a modest-sized fishing schooner with a comically-oversized mermaid figurehead with comically-oversized breasts that appears to have been added aftermarket, probably as salvage from a much, much larger vessel.
Tegan is the youngest child of the Kellani family, sister to Rowyn Kellani and daughter of Heldrath Kellani. At fourteen, she is a befreckled beauty with the same red hair as her sister, though Tegan wears it short. Deceptively cute, Tegan used her seeming harmlessness as a weapon, with which she was able to get close to her victims.
In combat, Tegan wore a custom-tailored suit of studded leather with red and black accents and wielded a light rapier that bore the Kellani family crest and a red, ceramic knife with a carved nude as the handle.
During the party’s retrieval of the Sea Wyvern at Kraken’s Cove, Tegan put in motion her plan to get revenge on the party on behalf of her family. Over the course of five nights, she sought out and murdered women throughout Sasserine of varying ages, districts, lifestyles, and classes, leaving no indication as to why she chose her victims. The party, however, recognized that they themselves were the common thread, with all the women being relatives or friends of the party themselves or people they knew. It was apparent that this murderer, now known as the “Sasserine Gut-Tugger” due to the fashion in which she murdered her victims – one single, deliberate stab to the stomach, the lower intestines pulled free of the body – was trying to draw them out.
The party staked out the location that they believed the next murder would happen, but found instead that Tegan had planted a trap for them. With Tobin inexplicably missing, Tegan and the six mercenaries she hired were a force to be reckoned with, especially as Tegan had come well-prepared, studying the party thoroughly before making her strike and was expecting many of the group’s usual tricks. After a pitched battle, Tegan was eventually taken alive after the rigors of combat finally broke down her psyche, and as her mooks fell, she was consumed by hopelessness, seeing that she, too, would fail where both her sister and her mother had, before her.
Tegan was turned over to Worrin Lidu and the care of the Dawn Council. Tacit and hollow, she no longer speaks, and there remains little of the girl she once was. With both her mother and her sister presumably dead by the party’s hands and herself soundly defeated, it is unknown what goes on within the tempest of her mind or what her future might hold, but as Sasserine does not levy the death penalty against minors, she will have many years ahead to consider her crimes.
Second son of former Harbormaster Keltar Islaran, Kolta broke his father’s heart at an early age when a near-drowning left him paralyzed of the water and with an unmistakable stutter that follows him to this day. An accountant by trade, Kolta is a handsome – if only because he is well-kept and well-nourished – young man with glasses and short, brown hair. With his father’s death and his eldest brother and sister having disappeared many months before, the onus was upon Kolta to take up the mantle of Harbormaster, something he knew to be impossible. Unwilling to relinquish the prestige and the money associated with the title to another family, Kolta unwittingly held the city’s sea trade at impasse until the Gang of Five persuaded him to marry a capable candidate, Lienne Tiel, allowing the position of Harbormaster to remain in his family while still ensuring someone did the job at all. Plus, he gets to have sex with Lienne. Clearly he came out ahead.
Patron of the Meravanchi noble house, Zebula has a well-earned reputation about the city for being a lech, but also a shrewd and merciless businessman who works and plays hard. His parties are the stuff of legend throughout the city, with those invited being sworn to coy secrecy about the things the see (or do) while in attendance. It is rumored that Zebula has some form of fey bound to his home or himself, though it is unsure if these are simply stories or if they hint at some truth.
Zebula’s son, Avner Meravanchi, was sent aboard the Sea Wyvern during the party’s travel to the Isle of Dread, to act in his interests and ensure his investment is not squandered. With the details of what transpired in Farshore between the party and his younger brother, Manthalay, now related to him by Manthalay’s own mouth with his return to Sasserine, it is unknown what Zebula’s reaction to this news will be, how he feels about his son Avner’s role in the colony’s upkeep or his brother’s abdication of claim to the colony, and more importantly, what Zebula will do about any of it, if anything. He remains, as ever, inscrutable, thoughtful, and very, very dangerous.
Daughter of Tien and Kazuo, sister of Tobin Gray, Wilhelmina – “Willie” – was away at school during the beginning of the party’s formation and travels, and it wasn’t until the party at last returned to Sasserine after traveling to Farshore that they encountered the young lady, now an employee at Mistah Dakka’s House of Dakka. While their first introduction was rough, as Willie was at last confronted with the men who had last seen her beloved brother alive, she eventually overcame her sadness to speak to the men who had known her brother best.
Spunky, bright, and energetic, Willie is accustomed to firearms use and has played with the notion of becoming an “adventurer”, like her brother, something her parents dread and the party, whom she asked for counsel on the matter, have attempted to deter her from. No matter what anyone advises her, it is apparent that Willie is as loudly brash as her brother was quietly willful, just as it is apparent that no matter what path she takes in life, it will be one of her own choosing and designing.
Mother to Tobin Grey, Tien is a quiet and reserved woman who seems to always carry with her an air of perpetual sadness. Having never fully assimilated to a non-Kaidan culture or picked up the sophistries of the common tongue, she does not appear to blame the party for her son’s tragic death. Instead, she mourns in silence, grieving as only a mother could for the death of her child.
Father of Tobin Grey, Kazuo is a fierce lion of a man who emigrated with his wife to Sasserine immediately following the dissolution of the reign of the Sea Princes in the hopes that a land newly opened to the world would be ripe for immigration and expansion. Sadly, while Kazuo has made a name and fortune for his family, his adherence to non-native customs and hard-headed (some would say confrontational) attitude have won him few friends, and it is apparent that he is intensely frustrated by the arrest of his social climbing.
Deeply resentful of the party for “killing his son”, Kazuo refused even to acknowledge his son’s friends as people, and had not spoken to them since they delivered the news of Tobin’s sad death. The fact that the Gang of Five are lauded as heroes of the city sickens and infuriated him to no end, as he sees adventurers as gaudy, showy, reckless people who care only for themselves and their personal glory.
Once the Gang of Five returned from the Abyss victorious, however, and with news from his son, no less, Kazuo confessed to a greater understanding of these men and his son. With dignified and stern bearing, he informed his son’s friends that he was proud of them, of his son, and that he was happy that his son had sacrificed himself for lives so worthy.
Doting mother to Kizziar Stone, “Mrs. Stone” is a full-blooded orc and former battlemaster of the Skullcrusher Orc Tribe. To nobody’s surprise so much as her own, she fell in love with a wounded human cartographer and, for the sake of her love, forsook her tribe to move to Sasserine with her new husband. Mrs. Stone retains all her edge, in spite of giving birth to a child and living in comparative luxury amongst the nobility for over two decades. A woman who loves like a badger, her good cheer is infectious, and she cares about nothing so much as her husband, her son, and glory in combat. While she has hung up her weapons, herself, it delights her to no end that her son is a globe-trotting slayer, and as much as she treats Kizziar like a child (frequently calling him “Kizzy”, “Kizzy-Poo”, and “Momma’s Little Wussypuff”), she also expects him to be unfailingly brave, loyal, and resilient. Upon hearing of her son’s final expedition, to the bowels of the Abyss, her response was to admonish her son “Come home victorious or don’t come home.” Insofar as she is able, Mrs. Stone acts as a sort of den mother to the party, always insisting that her son bring over his “little friends” for a massive, hot meal and relaxation when they breeze through Sasserine.
In the months since Kizziar left for the Abyss, Mrs. Stone had become friends with Willie, her son’s “little friend”, whom the woman exalted in teaching to become a warrior. Receptive to her instruction in a way her own son never was, Mrs. Stone sees Willie as the daughter she never had, and maintains a steady watch for signs that she may be able to marry her son off to the fierce young lady someday.
The landed son of old Sasserine money, Marion Delecreux was disappointing his parents by adopting the trade of cartography when his party was ambushed and most of the caravan he was in killed. A nearby orc war party came to their rescue, but too late for most of the caravan: two were critically wounded and died shortly thereafter: only Marion was unharmed. For whatever reason, the leader of the orc party – a ravishing, stern orc woman – took a liking to the impish, slight man, and it wasn’t long before they were wed and living in Sasserine. Handily for Marion, his parents faced the executioner’s block for collusion with the Sea Princes during the revolution that followed, but Marion and his fierce wife were granted amnesty for any possible crimes. Working still as a hobbyist cartographer, Marion lives mostly off of his inheritance, sizable as it is, and enjoys the quiet, uncomplicated life he has apparently fallen face-first into.
Prelate of the Church of Irori in Sasserine, it was Chandresekhar who first assigned Tobin to the party as healer in the hopes that it would broaden his horizons and lead him eventually to better appreciate life in cloister, and it was he whom Tobin defied when he departed for Farshore aboard the Sea Wyvern. Disgusted by the party, whom he believed to be complicit in and party to Tobin’s death, the prelate refused to speak to the party for months, rebuffing them when they came to visit the temple with assurances that no servant of Irori would ever help them and that the church had turned its gaze from them.
Shockingly, however, it seems that the prelate has been given pause to reconsider this ban. When he was visited most recently, he welcomed Tobin’s companions with open arms and apologized for his behavior, stating that he was mistaken, and that thanks to time, reflection, and “an advocate”, he had been corrected. Redoubling his efforts to help to make up for lost time, he offered to the group all that was within his power to offer to aid them on their quest into the Abyss, going so far as to say that Irori would be with them and watching over them.
“The best goddamned siege shipwright in the hemisphere”, according to Lienne Tiel, who contacted and connected this engineer with the group prior to their journey to the Abyss. Requiring significant retrofitting to the Sea Wyvern, Gerad agreed to come on temporarily as the foreman on a work crew dedicated to outfitting the vessel with weaponry and other improvements.
Crass and angry, Gerad smokes continuously and dressed in neat military-themed garb accentuated with a plethora of tools of his trade. A gruff and stern man, Gerad does not trifle or tolerate fools and has a tremendous temper, but his results cannot be debated.