Natalya Vancaskerkin

Natalya Vancaskerkin is the daughter of one of Riddleport’s most notorious figures—Saul Vancaskerkin. Half-Varisian, Natalya was born of Saul’s first wife, a beautiful Varisian harrower from Magnimar named Adreea Valitrosa. Unfortunately for the star-crossed lovers, the Sczarni to whom Adreea belonged did not approve of this relationship, and a month after Natalya was born, the gang attempted to “reclaim” the babe as payment for Adreea choosing Saul over the Sczarni. Saul’s criminal contacts warned him in time, and he and his family fled to Riddleport to escape, but not before Adreea took a poisoned bolt to the back. She died soon thereafter, leaving Natalya entirely under her father’s care.

Saul mourned, but eventually remarried—a marriage that produced Natalya’s half-brothers. Eventually, they left home for their own reasons, leaving Natalya alone with her father and his third wife, Bertrida—a woman who despised Natalya. Feeling neglected by her father and persecuted by her stepmother, Natalya sought solace with some of Riddleport’s Sczarni, who happened to be bitter rivals of her father’s own criminal enterprises. When Bertrida discovered Natalya’s activities and then gleefully revealed them to her father, Saul was outraged. At Bertrida’s urgings, he disowned Natalya, turning his daughter out into the street with orders to never return. Saul never saw his daughter again.

And so Natalya returned to Magnimar. As she began to build her new life, the only thing she retained from her time in Riddleport was her father’s name—something she kept out of a mixture of guilt and shame. She resigned herself to what would likely be a short life working with the Tower Girls, one of Magnimar’s more notorious gangs.

But Natalya was impatient. She wanted to be the one in charge—the one who was making the most money and drawing the most respect. In the Sczarni, she grew increasingly frustrated at how much of each take got kicked up to her superiors. When the Pathfinders entered an alliance with the Sczarni in Magnimar, Natalya saw a chance to pad her pocket and, just perhaps, build her reputation in another group as well. She approached Sheila Heidmarch in secrecy, and Sheila recognized Natalya’s potential and hired her as an informant on the spot. Still part of the gang of second-story burglars known as the Tower Girls, Natalya used the skills and knowledge acquired in each organization to benefit the other as well.

Natalya’s Boarding House

Natalya’s hideout has seen better days. The boarding house’s clapboard sides are dark with mildew and marred by scorch marks. In places fire has gutted portions of the roof’s moss-covered tile shingles, but the building appears to be structurally intact. The building stands near the stark wall of the Seacleft, and scree from several decades of minor rockfalls has piled up along its southern face. The building’s windows are heavily boarded over. There is a front door that looks like it’s not boarded over.

A2. Front Room

The entire floor of this chamber has collapsed into the pool of water five feet below in the subcellar. The earthen walls of the flooded subcellar ooze with foul rivulets, and the smell is abominable. Two oozing sewer pipes protrude through the east wall of this pit just above the level of the sewage. Part of the ceiling above the entrance has collapsed, revealing an attic crawlspace above; a rickety ladder leads up from the water into the crawlspace. A door stands in the far wall across the sludge pit. A wooden plank balanced between both doors makes a precarious bridge between the two doors.

A4. Next Room

The floor of this room has fallen away, leaving a narrow, charred ledge along the south and east walls. To the northwest, a ledge heaped with crates and barrels sits, while above the rafters of the attic lay bare to view. The ledge is safe to walk on, but is sloped dangerously at places (it requires a successful DC 10 Acrobatics check to navigate).

A5. Back Room

The room has no floor, opening directly into the sump of a sewage pit below. Likewise, the charred ceiling has fallen away, revealing the fire-blackened rafters above. Next to a hole cut in the southwest corner of the wall, a crude ladder that has been nailed to the wall provides access to the rafters above. The door in the left wall has no floor in front of it.

A9. Back Room Attic

Up here, nearly the entire ceiling below has collapsed, leaving only a criss-cross of rafters making the floor. Major sections of the firewalls to the south and the west have been destroyed providing access to other portions of the attic.

A10. Attic Chimney

Like elsewhere, the ceiling has collapsed into the room below, but most of the rafters have gone with it in this area, leaving large gaps of empty space over the drop. A large fireplace in the room below climbs the wall as a wide chimney into here. The crumbling, charred brick of the chimney has been chipped away to create a large hollow within, with a tangle of discarded planks and other rubbish now serving as a floor.

Fenster the Blight

Fenster the Blight is as unsavory as denizens of Magnimar’s most notorious slum get. He has lived in Underbridge for decades, although he’s changed homes many times over the years. His current haunt is a partially collapsed warehouse on the shoreline, in a particularly filthy stretch where tidal currents often cause the filth and refuse of the city to collect in stinking clots along the shore.

Fenster is a wretched creature, more skin and bone than meat. His flesh is clammy and gray in places, one of his eyes is clouded over with a white film, and his clothing is caked with filth. His breathing is raspy and gurgling and smells of bad meat—he’s plagued by a wet, hacking cough. Fenster is a truly vile wretch, a carrier of several diseases who hires himself out for any foul job that might come his way. In the past, he’s worked as a garbage scavenger, a goblin baiter, an alchemy test subject, and a disposer of bodies.

Arvensoar

The tallest structure in Magnimar and a wonder in a city of architectural feats, the Arvensoar stands approximately 400 feet tall, climbing the entire length of the Seacleft and extending nearly a hundred feet above Naos itself. In the simplest senses, the great tower is the garrison of the city’s watch and small military, as well as being a quick, city-controlled connection between the Shore and the Summit. Beyond having these mundane uses, the tower is a symbol of the city’s unity, ambition, and history.

Commander Ismeir Odinburge—a competent, sober, and honest but inflexible, man—serves as Lord of the Tower and leader of Magnimar’s military forces. Several field commanders report directly to him, as does Captain Acacia Uriana, the fiery and opinionated head of the city watch. A military of 400 professional soldiers—most particularly well trained in archery—stand garrisoned within the Arvensoar, patrolling its heights and the city walls. Should more fighters ever be needed, the city watch and a local militia can be rallied within an hour, supplementing the tower’s forces with upward of 900 additional lesser but willing warriors.

Well positioned to defend the city, the Arvensoar boasts eight trebuchets capable of firing over the city and even past Outcast’s Cove—though Fort Indros and the Wyrmwatch are far better positioned to defend the city harbor—and enough provisions to supply the city through at least a week-long siege.

Based in the Arvensoar, the city watch focuses its energies on the patrolling of major streets and of neighborhoods where government resources and buildings are more common. The city walls are manned by the watch, and it is their responsibility to defend Magnimar from threat by land.

Sczarni Gangs

The Sczarni have been a part of Magnimar from the start—they’re not the most dangerous or powerful of the city’s criminal organizations, but they are the most visible. The Sczarni generally don’t involve themselves in particularly violent crimes, and in many cases in Magnimar, they actually help to protect and police less fortunate neighborhoods, and as such are often well regarded by the lower-class. There are six major Sczarni gangs in the city: the Creepers, Doolun’s Lads, the Gallowed, the Tower Girls, the Washside Wringers, and the Wreckwash Blades, with the Gallowed being the most powerful Sczarni family in the city.

The notorious ruffians known as the Sczarni constantly prowl the civilized areas of Varisia in search of easily bamboozled merchants, travelers, and aristocrats to prey upon. Countless Sczarni thugs operate throughout Magnimar, their sheer quantity spawning numerous gangs that each possesses its own illicit specialty as well as a clearly defined turf. Indisputably, the most powerful Sczarni gang in the city is the Gallowed, who operate from a caravan of wagons perched directly below Lord-Mayor Grobaras’s home, Defiant’s Garden. The Gallowed sports a large number of thugs and leg-breakers, as well as its infamous Fish Tank, a 4-foot-tall glass aquarium hidden in one of the caravan’s wagons and filled with swamp barracuda used to coax information out of unwilling victims.

As a rule, Sczarni thugs are not needlessly violent, and prefer to concentrate their efforts on crimes that will make them the most money rather than spill the most blood. Sczarni tend toward swindles and illicit trade instead of rape or murder, leaving such brutal acts of violence to sociopaths and unscrupulous thieves’ guilds.

Though the Gallowed make up the most powerful Sczarni gang in Magnimar, they are far from alone, and numerous other small families constantly vie for turf and wealth throughout the City of Monuments.

The Tower Girls specialize in robbery as well as extortion, and are often hired by quarreling nobles to help shame or blackmail rivals with evidence of infidelity, bastard children, or other secret failures. When not ruining lives, the Tower Girls display their impressive acrobatics onstage in the various playhouses and nightclubs of Lowcleft.

Shunned even by other Sczarni gangs, the Creepers seed the streets with drugs and other illicit substances. They concoct many of the drugs in their base near Underbridge, using their runners to keep the whole city stocked with a handful of vices at any time.