The Moon is our Mistress.
Type of Organization
Type of Members
|Thieves, Assassins, Spies, Informants|
|Number of Members||380|
17%, Phellysian 6%,
Dwarven 5%, Other 5%
|The Free City of Ithell|
|Year Founded||2380 CY|
|Symbol||A half skull, a half moon and a dagger|
The Grim is a criminal organization in Ithell. This secret society of assassins and thieves has ruled the night for over three centuries in that grand and cultured city. The guild is led by a single leader whose identity is known only to a precious few.
The term "Grim" applies both to the guild as a whole and individual members. Little is known of the origins of the name although there are theories. Some say it refers to the leering half skull in their symbol. Others say it refers to the stern, disciplined nature of their members. Either could be true.
The Grim are notoriously difficult to track and are renowned for speed, stealth and martial prowess. They are not at all like the typical thugs and footpads that may prowl the nighttime streets of other cities. These men and women are in exceptional physical condition. They strike with blinding speed and are gone with the flutter of a black cloak in the moonlight. Their swordplay is dazzling, they move with a fluid grace and the Grim have an uncanny ability to vanish into the shadows. It is obvious that members of this guild train hard. Their training is evident in the bruises and frustration of the authority figures who try, and fail, to stop them.
All grim wear cloaks and masks. Each mask is unique. Some are simple leather face masks, others are quite elaborate. Many masks bear a resemblance to a dragon or a skull or something equally fearsome. Often, there is a stern, sad element to the rendering as well.
The Grim is a mysterious guild. Much of their past is cloaked in rumor and secrecy. There is a story, however, often repeated in taverns late at night, that claims to hold the truth of this guild.
The story goes like this...
Some three centuries ago, there lived a pair of young lovers in the city of Ithell who did not have enough money to wed. His name was Raimon and her name was Tressa. Raimon had no ring to give her and no coin to pay the priests of Imarus for marriage. He spoke with the magistrate for charity, but was turned away. He decided to steal a ring from the house of a wealthy noble. He snuck into the mansion of a wealth noble whose wife had hundreds of rings. Because of her love for the full moon and the starry night, he chose an exquisite ring wrought of pearl and onyx. He also took a few gold pieces to pay for a wedding ceremony.
Raimon proposed and gave her the ring, which she treasured. However, while they made plans to wed, the city was hit by the Stiffening. Many dozens became ill, including Raimon's beloved Tressa. While the wealthy purchased magical cures and tara root, the poor who were sick were rounded up and quarantined in barracks at the edge of the city. As she grew weaker, Raimon began to fear the worst. Raimon could not afford the tara root medicine she needed. He begged the local herbalist, a wealthy and pompous man, for aid, but he was rebuked. Tressa slipped further into sickness day by day. Desperate, Raimon sold the pearl and onyx ring in order to purchase some tara root. The ring, however, was recognized and Raimon was quickly tracked down as the thief. He was hauled off to jail before he was able to give the medicine to Tressa. Raimon explained to the court his great need. The court ignored his pleas. Frantic with worry, Raimon slew two guards and escaped from custody but was too late. He arrived at the quarantine barracks only in time for her to die in his arms, even as the city guards were bashing in the door. Completely outnumbered, Raimon was forced to flee.
It is said that he swore vengeance upon the wealthy of Ithell that day. In the weeks and months that followed, the Stiffening outbreak was quelled, but Raimon became a new plague upon the city. Dozens of high profile burglaries were committed. Gold and silver, jewelry and precious gemstones and the most beautiful and most exquisite pieces of art were taken. The robber struck at the nobles, the wealth, the business, the military and city officials. The thief would never been seen and he would leave a sprig of the tara root plant behind. Weeks stretched into months and the burglaries numbered in the hundreds. At the same time, a masked and cloaked shadowy figure would appear to give money to the poor and vanish. The mask he wore was of a skull like thing with a stern, almost sad, appearance. The exploits of this vigilante thrilled the commoners and vexed the authorities. He seemed unstoppable. He became known as the Grim because of the mask. Despite the mask, the authorities were sure it was the fugitive known as Raimon.
Invariably, this "Grim" rogue attracted followers. First one, then two, then a dozen came to follow in his footsteps. From a small secretive group, their ranks began to swell. Like Raimon, these thieves would steal only from the rich and gave much of their treasure to the poor. Careful grooming of young recruits and endless training resulted in a guild of twenty rogues who continually succeeded in daring robberies without ever alerting authorities. Knowing the tragic story of Tressa, many adopted Raimon's tradition of leaving a sprig of tara behind to remind everyone of the injustice.
That's the story that is told in taverns. How much of it is true can't be really known for sure. Raimon, if he really was the founder and leader, is now long dead. Where the Grim might have buried his body, is known only to them. And it is true the many of the Grim do indeed leave a sprig of tara root behind.
The Grim have grown over the last 300 years. Their tradition of martial excellence has continued, as has their purpose. It is a tribute to this guild that they have operated continually for more than three centuries and yet the authorities know precious little about them.
The Grim seem motivated by the thrill of the chase as much as by profit. They revel in their craft - infiltrating by stealth, defeating all manner of locks and traps and making off with their prize all the while mocking the law. They do not seem interested in infiltrating every facet of society. True to the tale of Raimon and Tressa, the Grim do indeed seem to delight in taking from the wealthy and giving a portion of what they steal to the poor. This redistribution of wealth seems arbitrary and quite random. Sometimes money will be left for beggars to find. Othertimes, it is given to specific groups or people. It seems that the Grim favor those are are in most desperate need of money. A person who is close to losing something dear to them in most likely to receive a visit from the Grim. Such encounters are always at night and always brief. The Grim rarely speak and, when they do, it is often vague and cryptic.
The Grim meet to share resources, information, training and equipment. They often work together and aid each other. Where other thieving guilds seek to expand operations, influence the city and control the flow of drugs and prostitution, the Grim appear to be content to run along the rooftops at night beneath the full moon and burglarize the wealthy. Those who are both wealthy and cruel seem to attract the attention of the Grim. Those few wealthy lords who treat commoners with kindness and decency are spared a night time visit.
There is a tavern rumor that the original pearl and onyx ring that Raimon gave to Tressa is still in the city of Ithell somewhere, tucked away in some wealthy matron's jewelry box. It is said that the leader of the Grim himself has ordered his thieves to find it and that with each burglary of a wealthy man, they get closer to finding it. It is true that the Grim, when they commit a robbery, do seem to pay special attention to jewelry and rings in particular. It does indeed seem that they are looking for something. Who knows if such a fanciful tale could be true?
The Grim have many enemies in the city of Ithell including law enforcement officials, private security groups, rival thieves guilds and the government. The Grim have had some dealings with various guilds in the Drakkellian Alliance and Kalimura, but they have no formal allies.
There are those who support the Grim. The poorest of the city delight in the punishment that the Grim deal out to the wealthy nobles of the city. Even though they might never see a single copper from such exploits, many beggars, laborers and farmhands in and around Ithell are pleased by the simple fact that many of the wealthy fear the night.
While most Grim are burglars and thieves, one can also find assassins, fences and even information brokers in their ranks. When on a job, they are typically clad in soft leather from head to foot and wear cloaks of black cotton. Grim assassins favor the heavy crossbow with poisoned bolts.
The Grim are difficult to get in touch with. One must have underworld contacts and must arrange for a meeting. The Grim can always smell a trap or setup and such sting operations by city officials have always been discovered and avoided. It is said that that best place to make contact with the Grim is at the Gushing Tin Tavern in Ithell.
A young rogue looking to join the Grim will have to jump through a few hoops before even meeting with them. Initiation and testing of young hopeful candidates is extensive before any information about the Grim is revealed. Once the candidate is accepted as an initiate, he is taken into the guild for six months of intensive training during which time he will have no contact with the outside world whatsoever. By the end of these six months, the Grim will have an excellent idea of what kind of a member the young rogue will be. The six months concludes with a final test. This test, according to tavern gossip, is an underground series of chambers - a gauntlet of terrible traps and monsters. It is very large and deep underground. Some speculate that it may be outside the city. City officials have never had any luck finding any such underground chambers. If they exist, they are well hidden and possibly masked by either spells or magic blocking stone. If the initiate passes through the gauntlet and reaches the other side successfully, he is then a full member of the Grim and is given his medallion of membership. About 3 out of four initiates die in the attempt.
Due to the militant and fanatical nature of this group, it is likely that they do pledge of an oath of undying loyalty to the group. Whatever such a pledge may be, it is known only to the members who spoke it.
Rank is based strictly on seniority. Beyond that, all members are equal. Members of this guild use the same tools and equipment. They all receive training from the same masters in the same disciplines - stealth, fighting, lock picking, poison use, poison brewing, anatomy, martial arts, blind fighting, and other useful skills. While each member may vary slightly in personal interests, specialties and talents, they are remarkably homogenous group.
Only one Grim has ever been caught by the authorities - a half elven female cat burgler who was only captured after a brutal fight which left four city guardsmen dead. Upon questioning, she refused to give her name or any information about the guild. Even when threatened with torture, she would yield no answers. When her captors relaxed their guard, for only a moment, she grabbed the attending magistrate and flung herself from a balcony with her victim struggling in her arms all the way down. Both she and the magistrate were killed. Needless to say, this was an embarrassing incident for the city and word of it spread through the taverns quickly. Since this fateful encounter, the legend of the Grim has only grown. It is assumed that any Grim would rather die than betray the group. Last year, the city increased night time patrols.
It is a tradition among members to wear a piece of pearl and onyx jewelry on their person. White and black are the unofficial colors of the guild. These colors symbolize moonlight and shadow.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.