There are two major criminal guilds in the Broken Mountain kingdom: The Guild of Whispers (as they style themselves) and the Black Guard (assassins who work for the King).
The Black Guard is a small order of assassins who serve the King as assassins. They have 360 members (160 level-0 apprentices, 124 level-1, 49 level-2, 16 level-3, 7 level-4, 2 level-5, and 1 level-6). Not all of them are actually Black Guards—many are thieves, illusionists, and the like. The Black Guard is essentially a rounding error in the Guild of Whispers’ membership, although the king’s resources make them significantly more powerful than this indicates.
The Guild of Whispers is a massive organization, consisting of almost 150,000 individuals spread through every city and worthwhile town of Broken Mountain. Of these, 65,000 are level-0, 50,000 are level-1, 20,000 are level-2, 6,650 are level-3, 2,650 are level-4, 1,000 are level-5, 333 are level-6, 125 are level-7, 50 are level-8, 17 are level-9, 6 are level-10, 2 are level-11, and one (Princess Gretchen) is level-12.
Rather than use the default ACKS numbers, the above are based on the assumption that 20% of all leveled characters are “Hideout classes” (i.e., thieves and the like), and are numbered accordingly. Broken Mountain has an unusually centralized criminal element, although the sub-guilds of individual cities are very independent, which results in most of them answering—eventually—to Princess Gretchen.
The Guild of Whispers is broken into eight Hands, most run by a level-10 thief answering to Gretchen.
- Hand of Salt. Runs crime in Cane. Main emphasis on smuggling, with a strong showing in gambling and prostitution. Second largest! Run by a level-11 thief.
- Hand of Silver. Runs crime in Broken Mountain. The second-smallest Hand, and focuses mostly on keeping crime below the radar of the King. Run by a level-11 thief.
- Hand of Silk. Runs crime in Principalities Three and Four. Main emphasis on overland smuggling and—oddly enough—aristocratic espionage. Third largest.
- Hand of Shadows. The eyes and ears and mouth of the Guild, both gathering information for the guild’s use, and propagating rumors where needed. Found throughout the kingdom, and the main Hand in which beggars and petty thieves can be found. The largest Hand.
- Hand of Blood. Regardless of region, if it involves murder for pay, alchemical and herbal poisons, or enforcing the Guild’s Code, it involves the Hand of Blood. The smallest Hand.
- Hand of Stone. Runs crime in Principality Five. Main emphasis is on “protection” for the many mines of the principality.
- Hand of Cloth. The portion of the Guild of Whispers that the King is directly aware of—the Hand of Cloth acts as a liaison to the Oath-Takers.
- Hand of Oak. Runs crime in Principality Two. No real emphasis, although looting ancient ruins has begun to turn significantly profitable.
In addition to the hideout population, however, there are also a number of diplomats who have strong relations with the Guild of Whispers, although not all of them. The most skilled is Countess Rawn (level-10); most other diplomats in the pocket of the Guild are level 8 or lower.