Greed is among the most basic traits of intelligent people, and fraud is one of the most complex expressions of that trait. From the very moment civilizations developed beyond basic survival toward the acquisition of luxuries, there have been members of those societies who seek to gain such luxury by exploiting the fear and ignorance of the people who have it. Members of the Society of the Amaranthine Chalice seek to gain in wealth, status, and privilege by means of their wits, wiles, and raw force of personality.
Rather than being a true club, the society is a loosely aligned collective of cheats, confidence people, and tricksters devoted, as such people are, to advancing their own interests at the direct expense of others. Chapter houses, known to members as “rube rums,” can be found in most sizable settlements.
Members of the society, or Amaranthines as they refer to each other, pride themselves on being exceptional mountebanks. They feel sleight of hand and other tricks of legerdemain are cheap and easy ways to earn a living while their craft relies on their exceptional wordcraft.
Joining the Society of the Amaranthine Chalice. There are two methods by which a person can gain membership in the society. The more difficult method is to successfully take coin from an existing member through trickery or deceit. The easier and more common method of joining is to earn at least 100 gp through fast-talk or other duplicity while an existing member of the society bears witness.
What Is Expected of a Member? Despite the amount of time and effort members put into their confidence schemes and other tricks, they see so-called honest labor as the death of the creative spirit, and they shun it at all costs. If an Amaranthine is found to be drawing pay, steady or not, from an employer of any kind, they are immediately expelled, and their name is inscribed in the Register of Clowns. Once a person has become a clown, they are never allowed to rejoin the society.
If an Amaranthine runs afoul of the law, other members who operate nearby are expected to help each other out. That said, members who routinely draw the stern gaze of the law toward their fellows are apt to lose their membership. In a few instances, the actions of a careless member have resulted in the dissolution of the local rube rum. When this happens, their peers are expected to disappear the culprit permanently as an example to not follow.
Society Axioms. The core beliefs of the Society of the Amaranthine Chalice are as follows:
- Do no work
- Count your coin at home
- Sneaking is for crooks; words are our tools
- Hide a lie inside a bigger lie
- Don’t bring your troubles home
Important Texts or Dogma. Amaranthines pride themselves on their ability to learn new confidences through observation, and as such, few put much stock in book learning. Most skills are passed from one member to the next via storytelling and the recounting of their most recent exploits. The society has no important texts.
Benefits of Membership. Unlike more organized fellowships, membership in the Society of the Amaranthine Chalice has few direct benefits, though the few perks are very valuable to a confidence person who is looking for a place to lay low while the heat on them dies down.
In Midgard: The Society of the Amaranthine Chalice at a Glance
Type of Organization: Criminal organization
Symbol: A golden goblet holding four pink amaranth flowers
Disciplines Taught: Fast talk, identifying situational entrances and exits, persuasion, reading body language, spotting a mark
Affiliated Weapons: None
Important NPCs: Ilia D’Amata (NE tiefling thief lord, see Creature Codex), Griff Gundersen (N human bandit lord, see Tome of Beasts), Porcyllua Tinderkine (LE devilbound gnomish prince, see Tome of Beasts), Dahlia Starmere (NE elfmarked Emerald Order cult leader, see Tome of Beasts)
Primary Sanctuary Thy Cup Runneth, a tavern owned by founder Ilia D’Amata in Trombei
Major Sanctuaries most moderately sized or larger towns in the Crossroads and Seven Cities have a rube rum for members to gather at; larger cities in the Northlands, Nuria Natal, Dominion of the Wind Lords, and the Mharoti Empire have similar locations
Allies and Enemies
Many of an Amaranthines’ exploits target specific individuals and as such tend to be very personal in nature. Each member of the society has likely ruffled the feathers of dozens of defrauded victims, each of whom would like to see them receive their just comeuppance.
Ilia D’Amata. The society was founded by the tiefling scoundrel Ilia D’Amata, a rogue so convincing he thrice sold the same plot of land to a friend—and for a larger sum on each subsequent sale. More incredulously, Ilia did not own the land in question in the first place, though the legal landholder never saw any coin from the sale and had to roust the rube buyer from his property three times at considerable expense.
Griff Gunderson. Few people suspect the burly, blonde Brawling Skald of Skaldholm capable of clever wordplay. In his guise as Karl Bjorn Gusser however, he has bilked numerous wealthy but lonely widows of hundreds of gold pieces. Griff is the arbitrator at Skaldholm’s rube rum.
Porcyllua Tinderkine. The lady in residence of Zobeck’s new Sapphire Palace Tavern has reputedly bandied words with horned devils and come out ahead in her bargaining. Her many lovers gladly give a pint of their blood to her each month, which she bathes in to maintain her youthful appearance.
Dahlia Starmere. The Laughing Orphan of Per-Bastet uses her golden tongue to woo adherents to her primary organization, the Emerald Order. The folk of Bastet’s city gather any time she deigns to spin yarns from a street corner in any district. Dahlia can expect a warm welcome, a meal, and a place to stay in nearly any home in the city.
Members of the Society of the Amaranthine Chalice can be introduced to a campaign in a multitude of ways:
- A wealthy widower’s new wife has disappeared with his fortune. Can she be found before she leaves town altogether?
- The PCs purchase a property from a seemingly trustworthy individual. When the property’s true owner returns from places abroad, how can they find the scoundrel and get their money back.
- A young woman named Gertrude Steinbach has sold the same piece of jewelry to dozens of people. When the PCs investigate, they discover each victim describes a different person. Is Gertrude one person with many faces, or are several tricksters in on it?