Written by Bryan Fazekas
I originally named this wonderfully useful NPC "Panamon Creel", after the character from Terry Brook's novel The Sword of Shanarra. For publication in & Magazine, Issue 4 in February 2013 I changed the name to avoid copyright infringement. This article is published here in its published format.
Paquin Crii was born in the year 7866 ASNK in the city/state of Refuge, into a family of great prestige and honor, but little wealth remaining. Being of high nobility he spent much of his youth in the Grand Palace of Refuge. He grew up close friends with Deley Porsupah, nephew of the king Keken Miltoat.
Training together in the arts of combat, they went to war against Refuge's rival trading port Nequat. In vicious fighting both young men showed great skill and courage, and each received battle field honors for their many victories.
Upon completion of the war Crii returned home to find his father dead and the little that remained of the estate gone to pay creditors. With no family or support he left Refuge for a life of adventure at the tender age of 22. His life away from Refuge is almost entirely unknown.
Miltoat employed strict measures during the four years that the war with Nequat lasted. Becoming paranoid with age, Miltoat chose not to repeal the measures imposed by war. In the following years further measures were added to the already strict ones. Taxes crushed the already weakened economy.
A number of important and influential people spoke to the king, and when no results were gained, spoke openly against the measures. The most outspoken were imprisoned on trumped up charges, and later on no charges at all. When that did not quiet the noisy voices more arrests were made and the most vocal were executed regardless of station.
Among the arrested were the King's nephew Deley. The young man had been imprisoned for several years imprisoned when Crii returned to Refuge.
This was not the Paquin Crii of old. He looked more worn than typically does a man of thirty, and his left hand was replaced by a poniard. Hearing of his friend's plight he staged a lone assault on the castle and succeeded in releasing and escaping with Deley and other important prisoners.
Miltoat believed the Assassins Guild was responsible and began a vicious war upon that organization. Three months later the war ended abruptly with the death of the King and his immediate family. Gone also were the entire hierarchy of the Guild, a blow it never recovered from.
His uncle dead, Deley assumed the throne. He released all surviving political prisoners and established a fair law system, repealing the harsh measures implemented by his unlamented uncle. He has ruled since that time with Crii at his right hand.
Human Fighter 7 / Assassin 15; Align LE; hp 127; Str 18/41, Int 14, Wis 12, Dex 18, Con 16, Cha 14.
|Hide in Shadows:||85%|
Originally trained as a soldier, Crii is is reputed to be a deadly swordsman, although he has not had to publicly demonstrate his skill in years. He regularly practices at the Royal School for Guardsmen, so none doubt his ability is as deadly now as it ever was. It is rumored that his poniard is enchanted stronger than his sword, but that rumor has never been verified. In fact, he is double-specialized in short sword, attacking twice per round at +3 to-hit and damage. His lost left hand was replaced by a short poniard many years ago, and by the time he returned to Refuge he was accomplished in two weapon fighting, striking a third time each round with the poniard (treat it as a dagger).
Crii's training as an assassin has given him exceptional ability with thrown daggers. All his daggers, including the magical ones, are specially weighted so he gets his full strength bonus to-hit and damage, in addition to +3 to-hit for dexterity. His range with these daggers is twice normal range and he can assassinate with thrown daggers at medium range.
His items include: Short Sword +4, Dagger +3, Dagger +1, 4x non-magical daggers, Bracers of Defense AC2, Ring of Protection +3, Cloak of Protection +3, Banded Mail +3, 100' Rope of Climbing, Ring of Shadows. He normally wears his Bracers, Ring of Protection, and Cloak of Protection, giving him AC -8. In field situations he wears his magic banded bail with an effective AC of -3.
Crii is currently in his mid-50's. His beard is solid grey although his hair remains dark excepting grey in the temples. His public persona is "playboy", he always has a woman on his arm during public events although rarely the same one twice. He never married and apparently has produced no bastards. His private life is just that – private. Even Deley knows little of Crii's personal affairs.
Behind the Scenes
During the civil war Crii negotiated with the Assassins Guild to gain its cooperation in the fight, utilizing them to remove Miltoat's supporters. At the conclusion of the final battle Crii orchestrated the total destruction of the Guild leadership and quietly assumed control during rebuilding.
His control over the Guild is absolute. Only the top three leaders in the guild know who the Guildmaster is, and they received a Geas to never indicate his identity to anyone. They control an organization that is far stronger that it had been under the previous leadership.
Crii's friendship and devotion to the king are not feigned. There is literally nothing he will not do to protect his childhood friend. Under his tenure the direction of the Guild changed so that it is more aptly termed the secret police of the kingdom than a criminal organization. However, even the top leaders don't fully realize the guild's position as protector of the kingdom.
Assassination in the kingdom is kept low key. Paid jobs always look like accidents or the work of foreign thieves or brigands. No evidence that there is an Assassins Guild in Refuge ever surfaces – everyone knows it was aligned with Miltoat and all members killed or fled at the end of the civil war.
Traitors to the throne are publicly exposed or framed, and then publicly executed. Guild members are expected to learn the soft arts of assassination as well as the more direct means. The Guild pulls the strings in several nearby kingdoms where the local Guild Master, a servant of the Refuge guild, does not put the same pretty face on the guild.
Non-member assassins are required to join the Guild (if they prove acceptable) and abide by its rules, to find alternate means of employment, or to leave the kingdoms. The Guild typically places blame on non-members when the assassination of person of high station occurs, so a few are "allowed" to operate independently until needed as the patsy.
The guild leadership is required to carefully consider what jobs they accept, and to consider who customer and the victim are. Crii is known to override decisions and occasionally customers will die at the hands of foreign thieves during a home invasion, or similar unsuspicious circumstances. Crii's deciding factor is the long term good of Deley and the kingdom.
Crii's friends are wide ranging, including many notables in the kingdom. His most noted friend is the paladin Avatar, who is known widely for his many exploits in the destruction of evil. Regardless of what happened to Crii during his "lost years", he is a member of the high nobility, the product of many generations of breeding. The only thing he places above his own honor is the safety of his closest friends.
Copyright 2013 Bryan Fazekas