The Sultanate of Beggars
Alignment: Any non-lawful.
Symbol: A cloth mask marked with sigils of protection.
Disciplines: Broken Blade.
Oath: Sultans are offered no tests to be able to swear their oath, but they are asked to remain within a city for several months after swearing it to the one who inducted them, where their behavior is carefully observed. Those who cannot hold to their oath are beaten soundly, stripped of their rank, and asked politely not to come back.
“I join a brotherhood ennobled not by wealth, but by strength. I shall aid the destitute against those who prey on them and shelter them from prisons of both debt and slavery. I shall not abide those who desire to own their fellow sapients, nor fail to give aid and succor to those escaping the chains of enslavement. On my honor, let it be.”
Allegiance Benefit: A Sultan of the Sultanate of Beggars gains a +2 anarchic bonus to his CMB against bull rush and grapple attempts. In addition, he does not take the normal –4 penalty when making attacks with improvised weapons, and treats improvised weapons as monk weapons for the purposes of class features and feats.
A Sultan who breaks his oath (such as by permitting slavery) the bonuses to his CMD (but not access to the Broken Blade discipline or the other allegiance benefits) until he atones by meditating for seven days and nights on the nature of his crime, or else by donating 100 gp per character level (or equivalent service) to the poor and destitute. He may also find himself targeted for an educational beating by his fellow Sultans.
Description: Founded by ex-gladiators, the Sultanate of Beggars opposes slavery and tyranny wherever they may be found. Its members dress humbly and speak softly, and often choose to dwell amongst the poor and destitute, the better to personally protect them from predators both within and without. Many a mugger or goon has attempted to threaten a crippled old man only to find that he had aimed his knife at a Sultan who is now extremely upset.
The Sultanate encourages its members who choose to adventure, especially those who oppose the activities of slavers and bandits, but it is most famous for its more stationary membership. This order of vigilantes hides among the populace it protects, projecting an image of weakness that entices predators to attack the hidden warriors. More merciful Sultans attempt to reform those who try to abuse them; others let them stand as final examples of the wages of sin. The Sultans know they lack the numbers to police every part of their adopted communities, but by placing the fear of their retribution in predators, they appear more numerous than they actually are.
Though decentralized, the Sultanate of Beggars exists in a state of mutual respect from member to member. Each Sultan claims a group or territory (such as their neighborhood, a brothel, or their adventuring party), and other Sultans do not interfere in that claim unless invited to do so or if they have evidence of misconduct on the part of their brother Sultan. This attitude of respect essentially governs their relaxed organizational structure, with the Sultanate resembling a philosophy more than anything else. It makes it difficult for the Sultanate to consolidate its power when truly major goals need to be accomplished, but it also affects their overall purpose better, and that is a tradeoff the Sultans are willing to make.
In places where the Sultanate acts more boldly (such as if they feel stronger than local law, or have a positive relationship with local law), it maintains houses of hospitality marked subtly with their symbol. In these houses, all and sundry are promised freedom from both violence and eviction for at least three days and nights, provided that they help with the chores and commit no violence or abuse upon others. The Sultans who run these houses take their responsibilities over them seriously, and few things are as wrathful as a Sultan whose house has been defiled or dishonored.
Common Tasks: The Sultanate operates on a system of mutual respect; a Sultan asking a favor of his fellow does so in the expectation that he will have to repay that favor. Traveling Sultans who stop in a city often pick up a variety of tasks from the rumors and intelligence they gather there, usually involving dealing with corrupt lords, slavers (and slave-taking cultures such as gnolls), and sometimes with facilitating improvements for a fellow Sultan’s domain. Repayment can be expected for these services.
Available Services: Aside from favors drawn from one’s fellow Sultans, the Sultanate has friends in low places and contacts in various rebel movements the world over. They quietly collect weapons that are made available to members and maintain safe houses and secretive escape routes marked by signs known only by one’s fellow Sultans. What the Sultanate lacks in sheer luxury of service they make up for in their incredibly broad network.
Path of War – Expanded, © 2016, Dreamscarred Press.