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Comments: 15
Ideas: 1
Rating: 4.4583
Condition: Normal
ID: 2255


January 27, 2006, 2:32 am

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Arkath the Contractor


Need a mercenary, or two, or fifty?  Don’t know whether to hire the Crimson Brigade or the Azure Legion?  Unsure of Tim the Dragon-slayer’s effectiveness?  Don’t know how to contact a group to set up a contract?  Then come see Arkath, the man who can answer all those questions and more.

Arkath is a small, balding, near-sighted man.  He’s usually dressed in what could be considered a poor imitation of upper class finery.  He always has a pair of dusty spectacles perched on his nose, and numerous semi-permanent ink stains on his fingers.   


“Ah, yes, certainly I can help you find the proper mercenaries for the job.  What was it again?  Ah, escorting your lovely daughter to your summer home.  Well, let me see… ah, yes, the Cassinos family tends to take jobs in that line.  No, you needn’t worry about your daughter’s virtue; young Riisha keeps her brothers well in line…  

Arkath started off as a shrewd trader.  He was very good at reading the market to determine what goods would fetch the best prices.  However, to be effective, he had to move his goods, and sometimes, the nature of the goods he shipped made them very desirable to thieves.  It wasn’t cost effective to keep a permanent crew of guards, so he hired mercenaries.  He was struck by the difficulty of determining which mercenaries to hire for the job, and of contacting them.  After an entire shipment was stolen by the very mercenaries he had hired, he sat down to do some long, hard thinking.  Surely, there was a better way to go about this.  That was when he had his brilliant idea. 

What can I do for you, madame?  Why, naturally I know people of all types, and many won’t balk at much.  A resurrectionist?  Well, of course you know that anyone in that line is likely to charge more for their services, but it just so happens I seem to recall a fellow who would be just perfect, very discreet, and he’s at loose ends just now.  Good day. 

He started compiling a list of known mercenaries, by themselves and in bands.  He talked to various people who had employed them, and established a fairly accurate picture of their capabilities, their specialties, and their reputations.  Then he made contact with the leaders as an information merchant.  For a small commission based on the contract value, he’d help them set up contracts with employers.  After all, it would be so much easier for all involved if the employers were getting the best mercenaries for the job in question (and not too few or too many), and surely the mercenary leaders didn’t want to waste time meeting with prospective employers until the job was guaranteed…

And you sir?  Protecting your caravan from bandits on the road?  Well, Jaeger’s Daggers are available, but they’re not very reliable.  You’d be much better off with the Shadow Knights, even if they’re a little more expensive.  Thank you, sir. 

The mercenaries agreed, and so Arkath became the Contractor for numerous mercenaries.  His business is basically promoting certain bands, helping employers find the proper group for the job, and working out the contracts between the employers and the mercenaries.  He is very good at sizing people up and figuring out what they want.  Soon it became known that Arkath was the man to go see if one wanted mercenaries.  For any given job, the odds are very good that he’ll know who is best for the job, where to find them, and how much they charge.  His commissions are percentages based on the contract value, and he’s cornered this particular market.  He is swiftly becoming a very wealthy man. 

Ah, your Excellency!  How may I help you?  The Band of the Hawk?  I’m terribly sorry, but they are currently on a contract.  Can I interest you in the Argenti?  Smaller, less experienced in that line, but they get results…  Only the Band of the Hawk will do?  I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until Baron Jalinor has quite finished invading the Duchy of Maticai, Excellency. 

Special Equipment
The only things Arkath has of any interest are his extensive records.  He has a record of nearly every single mercenary and group that’s worth hiring.  He also keeps records of who hires what mercenaries, for what job, which could prove valuable if someone is looking for blackmail material.   

Roleplaying Notes
Arkath generally comes across as a genial merchant, but he’s a very cunning man.  He’ll drive a very hard bargain, and is known for getting people to agree to outrageous sums.  He is usually very polite and knows how to operate without offending those with money and power.   

Any mercenary group (like, say, PCs) can register with him for a small fee based on the group size, providing that they are willing to let him run checks on their past jobs and that they’re willing to let him have his percentage.  It doesn’t matter if what they do is illegal or not; Arkath cares not.

Additional Ideas (1)

Plot Hook
- A mercenary company is annoyed that they were blacklisted. What better way for a blacklisted Merc company to get their rep back than kidnap the consultant that is giving them a bad name? Oh, wait. OK, they aren't the smartest company either but they were pissed. Might be easier to kill him.

It is definitely in the interest of the other groups to get him back. And can getting him back lead to some well earned favoritism? It is a no holds barred race to rescue him. Poor bastards that kidnapped him are in for a world of hurt...but who will find him first?

2012-09-14 01:33 PM » Link: [2255#83268|text]
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Comments ( 15 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted wildcorn
January 27, 2006, 7:05
Not a mercenary, but a perfect addition to any world that involves them. I'm giving it a five because the character is flawlessly developed, and could be inserted cleanly into any world.
Voted Scrasamax
January 27, 2006, 8:38
A mercenary liason, quite a wonderful idea Ria, and well done. I especially like the excerpts of dialog placed through the posting, gives a feeling of authenticity and the impression that Arkath is rather a busy man. One idea I had was that he could have the worry of threats on his life, should a contract go sour. The offending party (employer or merc) might not like the idea of a permanent record of their ill-dealings.
Voted MoonHunter
January 27, 2006, 11:02
I love Third Men.

He is a functional NPC, useful and colorful (in a bland, merchantile sort of way). The write up is excellent. I like the interspersed story bits. The world will not revolve around him, but it will follow his course.
Voted Cheka Man
January 27, 2006, 13:02
Very useful for an world with mercenaries in it.
Voted manfred
January 27, 2006, 14:30
What they said. :)
Voted Taurren
February 2, 2006, 8:50
An excellent NPC.

The only thing that would enhance Arkath is the right setting. A town at the crossroads between Empires would be perfect. Or perhaps he's a member of a well known (and protected) caravan that travels along a pre-determined route?
Voted Murometz
February 17, 2006, 0:01
I don't know why I say this but I picture him with a young daughter, whose mother passed away. He is fiercely protective of her and keeps her identity a secret, but at the same time is slowly teaching her the ropes, and encouraging her to study his exhaustive mercenary records. After all a man such as Arkath will one day need an heir apparent.

Arkath: so who would you say is right for this my dear?

daughter: Felthyn's Fearless, who else!

Arkath: tut..tut, remember the terrain involved my sweet

daughter: Oh..wait..I know, The Swamp Adders of course!
November 28, 2006, 23:51
BUMPING the middle-man!
Voted Chaosmark
August 23, 2007, 20:42
Wooo. Read him before, never voted.
Voted valadaar
August 23, 2007, 21:00
Yes, quite nice Ria!
Voted Vampiric Crusader
November 28, 2008, 6:45
Quite the charater, flawlessly written and is ever so easy to fit into any campaign were the PC's might need an extra blade, "Or two, or fifty!"
Voted RGTraynor
April 1, 2011, 22:57

Nice ... I'm happy to steal this fellow.

Alexande Doyle
April 25, 2012, 8:12

"Band of the Hawk"

I see what you did there, and I like it.

September 14, 2012, 13:28
Update: Had to play with the formatting, sub was too good to leave in its scrunched state!
Voted Strolen
September 14, 2012, 13:29
This idea is awesome!


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