Name of Guild: Knuckle Sweets
Headquarters: Volmara, Kerrabar
Members: 1,823 rough estimate in three cities, Johnny "Knuckle Bones" Kemp is founder/ leader of the child gang.
Found Date: 3558, Messis 30
John Kemp was a forgotten youth thrown out on the street at the early age of eight. His father, a well known and successful owner of a tavern the Salted Dog, was killed along with his wife when their establishment burned to the ground with them inside. John was lucky to have snuck out to see some friends that night or he would have been with them. A bar fight had erupted over some forgotten offense and the fight turned into a small riot within the building. Lanterns were destroyed and the bar quickly went up in flames, killing over half the occupants as they were either trampled by others trying to get out or they were stuck in rooms and were burned to death.
Not having any family, the city guard tried to place him in a home for street youths. This was a small outfit that seemed more of a prison to the children then an actual home. They were forced into heavy manual labor for their stay. John was fearful of the rumors about how tough the older kids who refused to leave were, he ran.
Having grown up around sailors and off duty guards, John learned many games of chance, but none more so than knuckle bones. His father would often find him among the dark corners of the betting tables winning money from his clientele, much to his disappointment. Even though he father scolded him often about this, John relished it. He was even given the nick name of Knuckle Bones Kemp by the sailors for his love and skill at the game. While playing he listened to the stories the sailors was brag about, tales of adventure, of women, and money. He especially listened when they spoke of easy money and feigned ignorance when the guards spoke about places to easy to burglarize and the times the watch were weak. Of course they never spoke about this when others were around, and Johnny was a kid, unable to understand what they meant. But he did know, and he kept that knowledge with himself everywhere he went.
When he was thrust out on the streets of Volmara, he had a hard time fighting for food and shelter among the other street urchins. He would pick up little jobs from the locals, helping with hauling supplies but he tired of the treatment he received. Occasionally after a long and hard days work they would refuse to pay him and threaten to call the guard should he cause a problem. He woke up to the realization that he would have to take control of his own life should he plan on getting a warm place to sleep and warm food. He tagged on to a band of youths close to his age run by an older youth of sixteen who went by the name of Boxter. They made simple money, but the younger boys never say any. They were given food, which was edible but never good and the shelter was just as wet and drafty as it had been when he was on his own.
Johnny one day had worked hard and snooped out a perfect purse to snatch and when he did he felt joy at it. Counting the coins quickly he noticed it was much more than the entire group had pulled together in a few months time together. Apparently it was a member of the bankers' guild who was transferring funds to a client. Boxter say the glint of coins and elated at being rich, and refused to give John a single sliver, as he had a quota of thefts not a quota of coins. John became enraged and jumped on Boxter, wrestling him to the ground. Seven years and roughly 60 pounds were in favor of Boxter, but Johnny's rage overpowered the larger and older boy. A quick slip of a blade ended the fight as soon as it was started, and John 'Knuckle Bones' Kemp was the one to rise.
Knuckle Bones, while acting is personal rage and anger, was seen as a hero to the younger boys who had suffered at the hands of Boxter and his friends. Seeing Boxter fall so quickly to the young upstart, the others backed down and agreed that Knuckle Bones lead the gang in the direction he saw fit. Through his knowledge that he learned at the bones tables at his fathers bar, he brought his group of merry youths to a pinnacle they had never seen before. However, by doing so they gained attention from others not so happy to see any other guilds, regardless that they were children, impede on their claim territory.
Once Knuckle Bones Kemp entered the picture, things changed for the oppressed youths of the streets. He began organizing the children into a semblance of order. No longer were children forming street gangs to fight for a street corner to pick pockets from, or from an alley which to steal food from. He banded them together into one group so that all their efforts would go toward protecting each other and supplying food and coin. The nick name given to them by the cursing city guards were the Knuckle Sweets, after John and his continued use of children. Jokes of him paying them in sweets were plenty around the tavern but hushed quickly when entering the streets. No one ever knew where a child of the Knuckle Sweets was prowling.
At first this was a problem with the local guilds as they were out a large staple of eyes and ears, but also they were loosing their work force. The slaves no longer worked their duties and the guilds had no one to personally abuse. This caused the first guild wars within the city of Volmara since the guilds joined and consolidated their forces. Much in the same manner the Kemp organized the children. The adult thieves went after the children in force, blaming them for many crimes both mundane and serious. From stealing from the purse of a shopper to the murder of city guards. All was placed at the feet of the children's upstart gang, as it was called.
For their effort, they fought back. They used their skills and talents to use as the thieves guild was blind to their abilities. They were able to undermine many operations by tipping off the local guards, or even the hired toughs of merchants who they knew were targets of the thieves' guild. This put a huge damper on the thieves' income and it hurt more than they were willing to admit. It was so bad that it was nearly a month before they could pull off a single heist without getting caught, and even then it was pitiful compared to their usual bounty. A deal was made. The thieves' guild gave in to the unusual tactics of the diminutive guild and a truce was set.
They agreed to silently end their differences as long as they would never cross the line into the others domain. The children were given the streets and the market place to pursue their operations while the guild took the homes, bars and taverns, and businesses as their own. The warehouse and harbor districts were split between the two and they shared rights. The children took the daytime hours to use as they wished, and the guild took the nighttime hours for their chosen time to work. They also agreed that when they reach the age of eighteen they would leave the Knuckle Sweets and be allowed acceptance into the local guilds as the children of the guilds would send them to the Sweets for training. This allowed easier time managing who was an honest thief and who worked for the city. Without those assurances no one is allowed in to either organization without backing.
The knuckle sweets are a highly organized group of youths who have banded together. Their lives on the streets were hounded by guards, and slavers running them into the ground. They were harassed by other thieves in the city and murdered for sport or exploited and given nothing in return. They were mistreated mainly due to their size and ages, but because their loyalties were scattered they were open for abuse.
They use their age and innocent looks to good advantage, as well as their agility and speed. From snatching purses to burglarizing warehouses, nothing will stand in the way of the child legions of the Knuckle Sweets. They now have a number of buildings owned throughout multiple cities used for safe houses for their members.
John Knuckle Bones Kemp is closing on thirty now, but he still leads the guild in favor of the children. They see him as a father figure they never had, and he enjoys to see the children off the streets and in clean, warm beds with plenty of warm food. He never asks them to do anything they don’t want to, but he does require them to work in some manner. Whether it is keeping the homes repaired and cleaned, to working the streets and the docks with the others, he requires 100% from all of them but he never pushes hard.
He is fairly lenient toward behavior but he does have a few older boys who stay with him until they are twenty five who act as his bouncers in case trouble comes. They deal with a misbehaving or troublesome youth as well as any outside problems that try to threaten all that Knuckle Bones Kemp as worked so hard for.
The group has entered the city after a long and dirty travel. Heading to the marketplace to resupply and to an inn or tavern for food and shelter they are accosted by a pack of laughing and running children. This diversion is to employ a snatch as one of the players should have something lifted from them. Once found this should end in a huge cat and mouse game of the children seeming to always out smart the adventured players.
A new guild in town and they plan to remove anything that threatens them from taking a foothold, and the Knuckle Sweets are the easiest targets. This requires a bit of setting up as someone in the party at least should have contact and a mild, if not aggravating, friendship with one of the children of the Knuckle Sweets. When the number of children found dead in the streets rise, the party should come across their little friend being attacked, or murdered depending on how motivating you want to be. They could then be asked to lend a hand in trying to find out who the culprits really are.
While this is suited and designed for my world of Hewdamia, it can be altered by just changing the names of the cities.