A History of the Blackrazor Guild
Part 1: A Note of Greetings
Hail and well met Seeker,
You hold in your hands a history of the Blackrazor Guild, that most noted and chaotic of Obsidian Bay’s many guilds. It is not by any means a complete history of this admittedly infamous; I doubt anyone could know all of the happenings of this organization, nor understand it even if they did.
Rather, it is a broad over view, collected from a variety of sources, and compiled by I, George Fillerman, scribe of the Blackrazors. I must admit that many of these sources are far from satisfactory for even a summation such as this. Even before his drinking, gambling, debauchery and other assorted sins overtook him, guild founder and first master Brant Bladescream did not take very good notes, nor keep adequate records. Such notes that he did take degenerated with mental facilities; by the time of his unfortunate end, he had resorted to leaving them on whatever bits of scrap paper he could find. More than a few were apparently left carved into the walls of the guild’s ruinous and disgusting old outhouse. Unfortunately (from a strictly academic perspective) the “structure” was destroyed when the Second Founders took over the guild.
The Blackrazors’ second master, Malphas, kept exquisite records, and oversaw the guild’s initial renaissance. Alas, his reign was cut short by a most unexpected turn of events in Greyhawk, events which I will discuss in further detail later in this document.
The reign of the “wily elf” was followed by the evil traitor Damocles Everton, who assumed control of the guild and then used it as part of his successful attempt to overthrow the city’s rightful rulers and place it in the hands of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Fortunately his tenure was cut short by Master Kalib Ironfist’s sword, Justiceseeker, but alas, the damage had been done: Damocles had kept excellent records, but they were all packs of lies designed to hide his true intentions. A further accounting of his activities has never been found, and I must reluctantly admit that I resorted to “speculation” to pierce his veil of dishonesty. I hope you, my esteemed reader, can excuse me for this inadequacy.
A further slight against the historic record came after the Fall of Obsidian Bay, when the largest contingent of Blackrazors fled the city for Greyhawk. During this time several high-ranking members of the guild apparently went insane and began serving the Scarlet Brotherhood. Most of the guild fled to Greyhawk through a magic portal in the basement (myself included) but some took to the city’s sewers to explore its subterrean levels (and fight an ongoing resistance against the Suel invaders) while still others fled to Blue. There was even a report that Aaron Windstalker assumed the mantle of Guildmaster in Obsidian Bay.
He, and almost everyone else, failed to file adequate reports documenting – or event summarizing! – their activities, and thus I must once again rely on hearsay and “imagination” to fill in the wholes in the historical record.
After the liberation of Obsidian Bay in CY 589, Tänévir Calywyn formally became guildmaster. He has been administrator through another successful period for the Blackrazor Guild, overseeing the establishment of new guild holdings including Swamphold in the Domain of Greyhawk (as well as the unfortunate seizing of the Greyhawk Guild Hall by that city’s rulers after a misunderstanding involving the Great Kingdom’s ambassador) and a Guild Hall in Hochoch, Geoff. Unfortunately, while Guildmaster Calywyn has excelled at inspiring the rank and file, finding new and more profitable ventures, and generally acting as a fine and noble leader, he is not one for paperwork.
My guild’s long history of creative record-keeping has left me with incomplete rosters, conflicting counts of guild shares and ever increasing demands from senior guild members for accurate lists of guild spell books and magical resources.
Thus, in the Common Year 590, I was charged with Guildmaster Calywyn to create this accounting of the guild’s history, and to sum up – as best I am able – the guild’s various holdings.
This task will undoubtedly press my considerable skills to their limits, but it is a noble, if extremely difficult, undertaking … and one that I’m sure you – my esteemed reader – will appreciate.
- George Fillerman
- Scribe of the Blackrazors
- The 28th of Sunsebb, The Common Year CY 590
Part 2: A History
At the height of his competence Brant Bladescream was a noted swordsman and through luck and skill that exceeded his intellectual capacities he was able to attract a small group of compatriots. He convinced these individuals to accompany him on a quest he’d dreamed of for years: recovery of the legendary sword Blackrazor from the dungeons of White Plume Mountain, in the Bandit Kingdoms. Accompanying on him were several strongarms, a handful of talented rogues, a cleric of Olidammara and four wizards. They succeeded in their quest, leaving with the sword, numerous other powerful magical items, weapon and armor, and a tremendous amount of coin.
Bladescream had been born and raised in Obsidian Bay’s Mudsitters District, the son of a dockworker. His then-feeble sword skills had been too insignificant to gain him entry into any of his home city’s adventuring guilds, and he left to seek his fortune elsewhere.
Having found it after White Plume Mountain, he hungered to return home – Blackrazor in hand – to show off his success and found a guild of his own. The others among his group had no objection to this – having secured enough gold to last several life times, they too were looking to settle down. Obsidian Bay was known as a frontier town filled with all manner of citizens, from humble craftsmen to noble adventures. It was also home to the Obsidian Tower, that most excellent and mysterious home of eldritch wizardry, and this alone was enough for the group’s signature Four Wizards to agree to Bladescream’s proposal.
Once in Obsidian Bay, Bladescream bought property in the Mudsitters District and had a hall erected, while the Four Wizards quickly set upon a task of their own: construction of a manor house. They also formally founded their guild, naming it for their signature sword. Bladescream became the first guild master, mostly because the others didn't want to take on the task (the Blackrazors were chaotic even then). While the wizards began work of the guild house’s basement, Bladescream organized several more-or-less successful expeditions to the Obsidian Maze and then – a year after the guild’s founding – declared he was going to undertake the guild’s greatest adventure: the slaying of the ancient black dragon Woryx.
The dragon had resided on the Wild Coast, north of Obsidian Bay and the Pomarj, for long centuries, and was well known as not only one of the greatest specimens of its kind, but as a powerful sorcerer and learned student of magic as well. To take on such a beast without reason – when it threatened no civilized lands – was insane. The Four Wizards declared as much before the expedition, and rallied enough of their fellow senior guild members to overrule Bladescream’s initiative.
Bladescream went anyway, sneaking away from the guild with 50 low-level Blackrazors and a few loyal henchmen. It proved to be an even greater disaster than the Wizards had expected.
Everyone save Bladescream died. I speculate the wyrm allowed the guildmaster to live solely to prove the folly of attacking it in its strong hold. Bladescream lost Blackrazor in that fight, and upon his return to Obsidian Bay, he lost his will to live.
The Four Wizards and the other senior members were outraged by Bladescream’s failure to obey the binding vote of the guild’s share holders. The Four Wizards denounced Bladescream and sealed off the just-completed manor-house basement, declaring that the fool would never set foot in it. They then left for destinations unknown. The rest of the senior guild members soon left as well, most joining other guilds in the city, all denouncing the Blackrazors.
Within a decade after Bladescream’s disastrous assault against Woryx the Blackrazor Guild had all but self-destructed. The guild hall became a flop-house filled with would-be warriors and fourth-rate thieves more intent on drinking each other under the table than undertaking any honest work. There was, at least, a posting board where those looking for jobs could try and find employment. Bladescream also managed to make a small amount of money by selling substandard equipment and food to the “guild members” who paid a single gold piece to join. But the guild was in bad financial shape. Bladescream was barely making payments on a 60,000 gold piece loan he’d taken out from the Moneylender’s Guild in the early 580s, and was in danger of losing the entire business when his 14,000 gp tax bill came due.
All of this changed in Fireseek of C.Y. 586, when a band of adventurers led by the albino elf Malphas joined the guild. The band, which had fled troubles in the decaying remains of the Great Kingdom, had joined the guild because it was the only one who would have them. Soon after joining, they left on an adventure to the Obsidian Maze. They returned less than a week later with enough money to buy a controlling – 60 percent – interest in the guild. They managed to pay down a significant portion of the guild’s debt, and began embarking on what could be their greatest challenge – restoring the Blackrazor Guild’s good name.
The new owners of the guild were:
- Malphas – an albino elven thief mage from Nyrond.
- Ragnar Blackmane – Frost Barbarian (Fruztii) from near the city of Krakenheim.
- Falgar – A mage, also from Nyrond.
- Brt – A gnome with a decidedly demonic personality.
- Calvin Cloudmore – A cleric of St. Cuthburt, and the guild’s moral center.
The new owners, led by Malphas, agreed to allow Bladescream to stay on as a sort of advisor. They have also hired a retired City Guard sergeant, Gef Ironhold, to manage the guild when they are not available and to serve as its weaponmaster.
Other important members of the Guild included:
- Killian "The Red" O'Brien – a ranger from the Vesve Forest, Killian had been looking to restore good to the chaotic, evil country side of the Great Kingdom when he joined up with Malphas and several other adventurers. He lost his leg in a battle with a demon in the Adri Forest in Sunsebb, C.Y. 585. The leg was re-attached thanks the magic of a ring of regeneration. But he was more known for his burn scars had at the hands of Weri the Firemage.
- Alton – An elf from the Adri Forest, Alton was an expert bowsman. He is currently serving in a back up role at the guild, crafting new weapons and training guild members in the way of his chosen weapon.
- Amadeus Aslaz – A fourth level cleric of Zilchus, Amadaus became the guild’s finacial advisor. While he does not live at the guild hall, he does visit about once a week to go over the group’s finances with its leaders.
The Second Founders implemented many new policies to flush out the scum infesting its halls. They set the guild’s new admission fee at a hefty 100 gold pieces, which covered the signing fee and two months worth of membership in the guild. After two months, a 10 gold piece membership fee was charged.
They also began selling shares in the guild to some of the more notable recruits including two new émigrés from the South Province of the Great Kingdom: Tänévir Calywyn, a elven ranger-mage and future master of the guild, and Aaron Windstalker, a half-elven mage-rouge.
In the months that followed, the membership tide began to turn – new recruits joined (usually forgoing future shares from guild missions to pay for their admission) and were markedly better than the dretches who’d been lounging around the guild hall. Their habits weren't much better – they still drank too much, and their skills were decidedly unimpressive – but most at least wanted to succeed.
A Listing of Guild Property
The Blackrazor Guild Hall
Up until about CY 589 – just after the liberation of the city – the north and west sides of the Blackrazors’ block were comprised of ramshackle houses and huts that were filled with poor folk and their refugee family members from the country side. After the Liberation, the Blackrazors used their new found fame (they having been one of the primary players in the city’s victory) to negotiate the purchase of the remainder of their block. It was subsequently demolished and cleared by the terramancer and reclusive Blackrazor Sven Kildare.
The guild’s original property is protected by a 10-foot-tall stone wall which has had glass shards and a variety of rusty iron spikes melded into its top. There are two gates – the main gate opens on to Raven’s Way, while a side gate borders Gulliver Street. Both are usually guarded by at least four redshirts, although there is not formal guard house at either entrance.
Inside the compound can be found the Main Guild Hall, which is divided into common and officers areas. The Common Area – which the large sleeping area (Flop Hall) and the dining/training/drinking area (Great Hall) was originally built from wood. By CY 586 years of abuse and poor maintenance had reduced this portion of the hall to a rotting, wreck with a roof that let in almost as much rain as it kept out. The Second Founders replaced the walls with stone blocks, and the dilapidated thatch roof with slate.
The Flop Hall originated as a place where the poorer guild members could spend a night in safety. During the guild’s long decline it evolved into little more than a flop house, with drunks paying a 1 copper to sleep inside. Four large firepits provided the room with a degree of warmth, and a back door gave easy access to what passed for an outhouse (not that the hall’s inhabitants used it much – most simply defecated or urinated wherever they chose, including inside). Since the Second Founding this room has been somewhat improved – it is still inhabited by redshirts, but a succession of demanding weaponmasters has forced them to keep it close to clean. The fire pits have been removed as well, replaced with large fireplaces on the north and west walls.
The Great Hall features a large bar running down its eastern wall, and is separated from the Flop Hall by a thick wooden wall. Behind the bar are kegs of the house brew, which is imported from the Blackrazor Brewery nearly two days outside of Obsidain Bay, as well as doors: leading to a pantry, kitchen, beer storage room, and an equipment room. The bar is usually staffed by two bartenders and two cooks.
The rest of Great Hall is given over to solid but simple wooden benches and tables and training mats. There is one small wooden island that serves as a sort of greeting desk for the hall, providing guild members with information about jobs and allowing members to buy basic equipment (as well as sign out guild resources). Notices about various jobs and missions are posted on the walls of this structure, which is heated by an exceptional stone fireplace on the western wall.
The main entrance to the Hall – and to the guild hall in general – can be found in the southwest corner of this room. It is comprised of two eight-foot high oak doors reinforced with steel bands. There is a simple wooden door in the northern wooden wall leading to Flop Hall, as well as an steel-banded oak door in the south-eastern corner that leads to the Officer’s Hall.
The Officer’s Hall is of a collection of private halls than a hall per say. There are 10 private rooms which are used by senior guild members or some of the more respected permanent employees, such as your humble scribe. The guild’s senior meeting room/library is located here, as are the supply rooms, an armory and vault, the officer’s mess, and the officer’s lounge. There is an entrance here which is used both to bring in supplies and as a private entrance for the officers. Each room, while sparsely furnished, does have a fireplace of its own. There is also an entrance to the building’s tower.
The guild’s armory is well equipped and contains a very large walk-in vault constructed by Delven and Sons for the second founders; this holds much of the guild’s coin, as well as the reserves of several senior guild members.
The Blackrazor Tower stands four stories over the rest of the guild’s compound, and is the tallest structure in the Mudsitter’s District. It was erected during Guildmaster Malphas’s tenure, and is presently holds the offices of the guildmaster. It includes two sub-basements and numerous secret passages.
To the north of the guild hall is a sturdy outhouse. The original outhouse had a shaft that ran down into the city’s sewers, but it became clogged and the sewage began pouring out onto Gulliver Street. This landed the guild with several fines which Bladescream refused to pay; when the Second Founders took over they scrapped the old outhouse, put the redshirts to work cleaning out the sewage, and erected a new outhouse. This new commode uses a rather unusually disposal technique: the maw of an extradimensional beast that appears in our reality as the inside of a rather mundane looking bag.
Next to the guild hall is the ruins of the guild’s Manor House as well as the building’s foundation. Beneath it are four fortified basement levels. At the time of the Second Founding, the Manor House had not been built, but the Basement had been completed (and then sealed) by the Four Wizards of the Blackrazor Guild (see the history for details on that saga).
Several years after the Second Founding, senior guild members were able to find a way into the basement levels via a stone-shaped door at the center of the foundation. This space is apparently the only portion of the basement that is not impervious to spells that allow the re-shaping of rock. It is however immune to teleportation, or mind affecting magic, just like the rest of the basement.
The basement’s four levels include all manner of conveniences and utilities. There is a large kitchen and dining hall, a well-apportioned meeting room, a first-rate four-cell prison, living quarters, water fountains and four laboratories. It also contains three portals to other portions of the Flanaess; Niola Dra in Keoland, XXXX in Nyrond, and XXX, in the County of Sunndi, south of the Kingdom of Alhissa. There were originally two other portals as well: one to the Abyss and another to Greyhawk, but both have been destroyed. None of the three remaining portals have been explored yet (although they regularly open in close according to a cycle tied to Oerth’s two moons), so I can not speak to what holdings – if any – the guild may have in those far off lands.
The guild’s Obsidian Bay property is rounded out by a fine smithy – which includes quarters for the guild’s resident blacksmith, and a stable capable of holding about 16 horses uncomfortably. The stable also holds quarters for the stablemaster and two stablehands. There is also a well that pulls from the city’s freshwater supply.
The guild property does have a working well, which draws from the city’s fresh water supply.
The Blackrazor Brewery
The Blackrazor Brewery was the first major expansion of the guild under the Second Founders (or any Founders). Prior to the Blackrazors the brewery had been owned by a successful brewing family, one who unfortunately was slain down to the last man, woman and child by a fiendish half-cambion. The demon used the establishment to perform arcane research into expanding its demonic powers, cutting of an important source of beer to Obsidian Bay in the process.
The Blackrazors were commissioned by pub in the city that relied on the brewery for its ale to investigate the drop of in alcohol. It was truly a mission hand-tailored for the Blackraozrs, and they undertook it with unparalleled vigor. They defeated the demon spawn and its terrestrial allies and – there being no heirs for the brewery – took over the property.
The property prospered under the Blackrazors’ stewardship, a fact many have found surprising, in spite of the guild’s well-known affinity for beer.
The source of the clog was the corpse of a drunken and unfortunate redshirt who to this day has not been identified. Some say his spirit haunts the site of outhouse to this day, but most attribute this to the drunken ramblings of redshirts trying to torment new recruits.
A Roster of Guild Members
Gamberi joined the Blackrazor Guild when he heard that a new group is taking control. Originally a native of Elredd in the Wild Coast, Gamberi is an easy going, but capable fighter. He was one of the few chosen to accompany the guild leaders on their second trip into Obsidian Maze, a distinction he is quite proud of.
Simon was a member of the Blackrazor Guild before the new owners came on board, and couldn’t be happier to serve them. He acquired his pride and joy – a suit of glowing chainmail armor, on his first expedition into Obsidian Maze with the leaders. It was a trip he nearly didn’t survive – he fell down a spiked pit and suffered near fatal wounds. However, the leaders were able to save him – in short, he feels he owes the guild his life. As a result, He takes his role as a guild member very seriously, and has a tendency to carry out the leaders orders too well because of his enthusiasm. He is a native of Obsidian Bay.
Other guild members (sketches)
Obert joined the Blackrazor Guild on a lark – he didn’t have anything left to lose. He signed up for the guild’s second expedition to Obsidian Maze for the same reason – he never expected to survive the experience. And one of friends didn’t. But he did, and he emerged from the darkness with a medallion of Heironious – and a new faith. He found the medallion on the body of a young man who had been slain in the dungeon by a horrifying creature called an umber hulk. He helped the guild’s leading cleric – Calvin Cloudmore – give the bodies a decent burial. After returning to the city, Obert felt compelled to visit the war gods temple. It took him one night to decide to join the faith. He remains a member of the guild, and sees it as way of gaining experience he can later use to promote good in the world.
Drexel never had much going for him. Some one has always been a little bit smart, a little bit faster, and a little bit stronger. He joined the guild looking for steady work and some friends. So far it seems he’s found both. He survived the guild leader’s second expedition into Obsidian Maze, but it didn’t touch him the way it did his new friend Obert.
- Alton is training two first level archers – Jameson and Dietrich. They began their training in the middle of Readying, C.Y. 586.
Other second level NPCS:
- Why, I often wonder, are the citizens of this city so intent on naming everything “Obsidian?
- There is ample evidence that Bladescream’s claim that the Four Wizards damned the guild and then left is simply untrue. While I have no doubt that the Wizards were not seen around the guild hall after that date – and indeed, wanted nothing to do with the Blackrazors – I believe that they continued to use the completed (and extremely secure) manor house basement for many years afterwards. Many of the notebooks left behind by the wizards were dated after they allegedly departed for planes unknown. Only three of the five eventual teleportation gates in the basement were completed when the basement was sealed; all were done when the Second Founders entered it. There is also the matter of the demonic gateway – Greylen’s notes indicated that the Four Wizards had been trying to built a teleportation portal to Rauxes, but instead demonic magics being wielded in that far-off city interfered with their weaves. Instead it opened onto the Abyss. I believe it was this incident that destroyed one of the laboratories on the lowest level. I speculate that this incident may also have led to the Four Wizards going their separate ways, leaving some of their belongings behind to serve as rewards for any Blackrazors competent enough to gain entry to the basement and defeat its guardians.
- The Abyssal portal led to the Plains of Chaos, and was responsible for the demonic invasion that drove the Scarlet Brotherhood conquerors from the city. The Blackrazors destroyed that portal from the Abyssal side, banishing the demons from the city and making the liberation possible.
- The Greyhawk portal originally led to a property in that city’s River Quarter. When the Blackrazors secured the basement, they opened the Greyhawk portal, and claimed the long-vacant building. The Greyhawk Guildhall was not to be though: the city confiscated it and banished the Blackrazors from the city after that oh so unfortunate misunderstanding involving the guild and the ambassador of the Great Kingdom.
|Guild Masters (Past to Present)||Brant Bladescream | Malphas von Malaclypse | Damocles Everton | Tänévir Calywyn | Malphas von Malaclypse|
|Share Holders||Malphas von Malaclypse | Ragnar Blackmane | Falgar|
|Holdings||Blackrazor Guildhall, Obsidian Bay | Blackrazor Guildhall, Hochoch | Blackrazor House, Seltaren | Blackrazor Guildhall, Greyhawk | Blackrazor Barony Keep, Pest's Crossing | Blackrazor Brewery | Swamphold|
|Other||Blackrazor Guild Sagas | Blackrazor Guild, Roster | Redshirts | Blackrazor, Sword | The Sea Razor | Order of the Razor | A History of the Blackrazor Guild | Four Wizards of the Blackrazor Guild|