1354 DR House Husteem
A House of land-owners and mercenary company owners, the Husteems have a reputation as belligerent and forceful. It is generally agreed that they found their way into Waterdhavian nobility solely through the depth of their pockets and the military power they wield - it certainly isn't through any inherent nobility on their part.
The family in modern nights is capably led by the politically astute Lord Orbos. Though Lord Orbos plays down the military nature of his House, it doesn't change the fact that there are plenty of mercenary captains who depend on the Husteem for their paychests.
A House of land-owners and mercenary company owners, the Husteems have a reputation for belligerence and force.
House Husteem is a House of mercenary masters and slum lords. While this sometimes causes other Waterdhavians to hold them in some contempt or fear, the Husteems also know that there's precious little that might be done to further sully their name. Their history is peppered with violent reprisals against their foes, so most go out of their way to avoid drawing their notice.
Goals and Philosophy
The Husteem goals are simple: to accrue power and wealth, the same as any Waterdhavian House. They are simply willing to sully their hands (and reputations, to some extent) in order to do so. Likewise, their philosophy is straight-forward: those with the strength to seize what they want practically have an obligation to do so.
House Husteem is involved in military endeavors, and in managing properties in low-income areas. Individual members are often involved in various shady undertakings as well, which the House as a whole isn't always privy to, even when those activities are funded by and profit the House coffers.
Quests undertaken by agents of House Husteem might include the following:
- Recruiting soldiers for their mercenary companies, especially if doing so means undercutting rival mercenary companies.
- Find out who is leading the campaign publicly vilifying the slum conditions of Husteem estates, and quiet them.
- Lend aid to the Loviataran temple in some capacity.
Scions and agents of House Husteem in good standing might receive the following benefits:
- Living Quarters: Rank 1+. Those in good standing with the House are given quarters within the House's Waterdhavian villa appropriate to their role in the House.
- Living Expenses/Salaries: Rank 1+. Those in good standing with the House also receive a stipend of 5sp per day per point of Rank. This is not actual cash, but simply familial credit towards payment of Lifestyle costs. This stacks with the same kind of familial credit received from the Waterdhavian Noble Background (see Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide).
- Business Opportunities: Rank 3+. Lynchpins to House Husteem's operations receive access to a variety of business opportunities within the House's money-making endeavors. This is handled as "Running a Business" in downtime months. This does not incur a business expense, but if the character rolls results that end in a loss of money, he can and will lose points of Rank for failing the House.
- Heir or Consort (Title): Rank 3+. The holder of one of the legal titles Heir of House and Consort of House, as recorded with the city of Waterdeep, is entitled to an additional 2gp per day in familial credit, per the "Living Expenses/Salaries" entry above. The heir is also accorded certain privileges within the legal system of Waterdeep, including the ability to speak on behalf of his House in some legal proceedings and the like.
- Company Captain: Rank 3+ You have been given command over one of the mercenary companies fielded by the House. This is considered a Wealthy business for the purpose of the "Running a Business". This responsibility requires a great deal of your time, particularly during the summer months, however.
- Properties Overseer: Rank 3+. You have been given authority over House Husteem's many rental properties in or beyond Waterdeep. This is considered a Modest business for the purpose of the "Running a Business". You always have access to any of the untenanted properties, and to a small staff of clerks and aides.
- Bodyguards: Rank 5+. Those of renown in the House may call upon the House's forces to accompany them throughout their daily endeavors. Two members of one of the House's mercenary companies are assigned as bodyguards to that scion for as long as they have need of them.
- Paymaster: Rank 7+ You are given command over the House's mercenary units in total, albeit peripherally. Your duties include the finding of clients and the establishment of contracts, as well as the disbursement of coin to the House's mercenaries.
- Wealth of the House: Rank 10. The patriarch of the House is in total control of the House's finances and various holdings, established by the laws of Waterdeep.
Members of the Family
|Lord Orbos Husteem|
Patriarch (Rank 10) • 42 years
Lord Orbos is a cunning man who emphasizes his family's land interests over their mercenary investments. Indeed, he has been known to coldly stare down those who make mention of the Husteem mercenaries until they wither and depart his presence or take up another topic. He is severe and very organized, with little tolerance for failure (even if that failure is simply to live up to his unexpressed expectations). He finds his brother frustrating, his children disappointing and his wife's condition unfortunate (even if her bed-ridden nature makes his own affairs a simple matter).
Consort (Rank 7) • 44 years
A daughter of House Rosznar, Luna's dowry was significant in land and reemphasized House Husteem's image as primary land-owners first and foremost in Waterdhavian eyes. Luna herself is mother to five children, but has almost never taken much of an interest in them. Of course, this is largely because she has always been somewhat sickly, keeping to her bed most of the time and suffering terrible trembling when he overexerts herself.
Firstborn daughter (Rank 0) • 23 years
As soon as she was old enough to elope, Alyra did so, with the love of her life, Chusya of House Ammakyl. A gentle girl who always lived in terror of her father, Alyra seems much happier being the consort of the beautiful Chusya. It is known that the two young women eloped without either of their parents' permission, but simply refused to allow their happiness together to be dictated to by their respective parents.
Heir (Rank 3) • Secondborn • 22 years
Though once out of favor with his father for joining the clergy of Mystra at a young age, Evendur has redeemed himself in the old man's eyes with his association with the Blackstaff and acceptance of familial responsibility (to say nothing of the rescue of his younger brother from slavers). He has been given captaincy of the Thunderhelms, and has done well thus far - well enough to be named his father's legal heir, at any rate.
Thirdborn son (Rank 1) • 17 years
A rake and avowed hedonist, Olegh was his uncle Orlpar's right hand. After his association with Orlpar got him kidnapped and sold to slavers in Undermountain, his older brother Evendur and his party of adventuring companions saved him. Well chagrined, the younger brother has focused more on his fighting training and military studies, and hopes to be given command of one of the House's companies when he is older.
Fourthborn (Rank 0) • 14 years
Relieved to no longer bear the burden of being heir with Evendur's return, Boreas is eagerly preparing for his introduction to Waterdhavian society. He has also begun spending some time with Olegh, learning the finer points of swordsmanship.
Fifthborn (Rank 0) • 5 years
A very little girl, Ilyda has only just switched from the care of "the Grannies" (as the trio of old nurses who all but raised all the Husteem children) to her tutor, learning to write, to speak, to play and sing, and the other myriad things a young noble girl must learn before she is ready to be introduced to society.
Patriarch's Brother (Rank 7) • 39 years
Handsome and rakish, Orlpar is a fencer and dilettante. He sleeps late, spends too much gold and is happiest when venturing into the seediest parts of town, with a gathering of other nobles out to get into trouble with wine, lovers and the finest drugs money can buy.
Patriarch's Sister (Rank 8) • 35 years
A Loviataran priestess ordained in Melvaunt, Audyna tends occasionally to duties at the Loviataran shrine in the Plinth. For the most part, however, she moves in many of the same circles her brother Orlpar does, enjoying the company of those who find joy in excess. By the same token, however, she is deferential to Orbos and retains his trust. It is said that she works to find a way to bring reconciliation between her brothers. She is often seen in the company of Hlethvagi Anteos, a scion of House Anteos and suspected Loviataran.
Paymistress (Rank 9) • Patriarch's Aunt • 56 years
Known as "Lady Warchest" both because she controls the pay chests for Husteem mercenary companies and for her ample busom, Coremita is a woman of advancing years. It is Coremita who arranges for contracts, selling the services of Husteem mercenaries to this principality or that, negotiating with clients and generally overseeing mercenary operations. She has never married, as she prefers to take her lovers (male and female alike) from among the soldiers she interacts with regularly, vastly preferring their brutal honesty to the silks and whispers of noble life. She is almost always accompanied by her nephew Ianhorne and his consort Aaromore, her apprentices.
Company Captain (Silver Scimitars) (Rank 4) • Patriarch's Uncle • 54 years
Dear old Uncle Jamril has been captain of the Silver Scimitars for as long as he was old enough to go to war. Though he's not the best military strategist in the world, he is canny enough to surround himself with lieutenants who are quite canny in that regard. Since the death of his beloved Cornys some twenty years ago, Jamril rarely returns to Waterdeep. Jamril's branch of the family tends to focus on running House Husteem's mercenary concerns.
Ricward's Widow (Rank 0) • 34 years
Since the death of her husband in the field leading the Arrowhawks, Xyrvyra has started playing the role of "merry widow" in Waterdhavian society, and has fallen in with the Veiled Vixens, a semi-notorious cabal of other nobleborn ladies around her age who have also worn the widow's weeds. She has acquired control of one of the Husteem properties in the North Ward and turned it into the center for the Vixens' evenings of entertainment, where they retire to after a night of carousing.
Patriarch's Cousin (Rank 0) • 12 years
A headstrong and clever young girl, Gurcaryn and Boreas are fast companions. Though she adores her cousin, she does not like "Uncle Orbos" one bit, and tends to avoid his notice when possible. Unfortunately, Audyna has brought the girl to his notice of late, as she insists that the girl ought to enter into a Loviataran novitiate in a few years, a fate that horrifies Gurcaryn. Worse, her mother seems inclined to let Orbos make such decisions for her.
Patriarch's Cousin (Rank 0) • 9 years
A young boy expected to one day take his place in command of one of the Husteem mercenary companies, so his grandfather Jamil has already sent one of his retired lieutenants, a man named Kostos al Jaim, a Tethryian swordsman, to train the young man in arms. Beltiin idolizes the gruff old mercenary, and relishes their time working at blades.
Patriarch's Cousin (Rank 5) • 28 years
Young and handsome, Ianhorne was well-loved by the young nobles of Waterdeep. He loved nothing better than a good party and a gathering of fellow nobles to share it with. Eventually, however, Lord Orbos tired of rescuing him from the clutches of the Watch, and so sent him away to apprentice with Coremita. Though he hated it at first, he found true love while there: the soldier Aaromore, whom he has wed by Loviataran rite. Though he was sent to be Coremita's apprentice, now that Evendur has taken that responsibility, he has returned to Waterdeep. He and Aaromore have taken up Ianhorne's old carousing once more, though Ianhorne claims they are "preparing" to establish a new mercenary company for the family. Lord Orbos remains skeptical.
Ianhorne's Consort (Rank 2) • 34 years
Swarthy where Ianhorne is fair, thick muscle where Ianhorne is wiry and lithe, and with a bearded face to Ianhorne's boyish visage, it is hard to imagine a less likely match for his lover and consort. Nonetheless, the scarred veteran and Ianhorne are inseparable. Aaromore doesn't speak much, but neither is he intimidated by most people he meets, including Lord Orbos (to Coremita's cackling delight). He seems somewhat uncomfortable in the high society of Waterdeep, though he makes himself have a good time to please Ianhorne.
Properties Overseer (Rank 3) • Thonan's Widow • 49 years
Magstine's husband Thonan managed most of the House's property concerns, and she has inherited those responsibilities. Indeed, she tended to most of the concerns even when Thonan (a man notorious for his drunken tour of festhalls on a several-nights-a-tenday basis) was alive. Magstine and Lord Orbos are close confidants.
Properties Overseer (Rank 4) • Patriarch's Cousin • 29 years
Headstrong and boisterous, Zinnaora is best known for her full-throated laugh and head of wild red hair. Though she cut a swathe through the handsome young nobles of her early adulthood, Zinnaora married a city clerk. The two tend to the family's properties outside of Waterdeep, stopping in occasionally to see Elisys and catch up with the family...and to deliver their profits to the Husteem vaults.
Zinnaora's Consort (Rank 2) • 32 years
Thin and gawky, with a full head of wiry blonde hair, Leorry is clearly out of his element in the company of the Husteems and the rest of nobility. Rather than embarrassing her, Zinnaora seems to find this awkwardness endearing.
Patriarch's Cousin (Rank 0) • 9 years
Zinnaora and Leorry's only daughter so far, Elisys lives in Waterdeep with her grandmother Magstine, who wished to keep her close. Sweet little red-headed Elisys used to be Beltiin's boon companion, but all that ended when he got a swordsmanship tutor. In response, Magstine has started her up at Mother Tamra's House of Graces (Mendever Street in Castle Ward), a school to teach her the graces of a young noblewoman. Elisys is a fine student, although she is clearly only interested in the schooling because he grandmother wants her to do well.
- Resources Limit: If necessary, House Husteem could probably generate about 28,000 gp in liquid coin and valuables within a month, or about 10,000 gp within a tenday.
Central Street of the Singing Dolphin, Sea Ward, Waterdeep
The estate compound owned by House Husteem in the Sea Ward consists of three tall buildings with exteriors crafted of rough fieldstone cunningly fit together, and interiors of fine marble, black woods and sword-quality, polished steel fixtures. The three buildings are the Main House, the Swordwife's Watch and Deeds House.
- Main House: The Main House is massive, four stories tall with an extensive cellar (that is said to house the family vaults). The pale marble, dark woods and gleaming fixtures lend a certain austerity to the house, but this is offset by the incredible supply of rugs, tapestries, art and other trophies of war. Any of the captains who sends fine goods home to Waterdeep after a campaign knows he'll receive a fine bonus in the warchest, and so there is plenty of looted goods to choose from. The consort and the heir all maintain multi-roomed suites on the second floor of the house, and quarters for guests and other family members occupies the third and fourth floor of the house. The patriarch's suite occupies the "point" of the building, and its rooms (bed chambers, lounge, bathing chambers, patriarch's library and study, plus a few other rooms) three full stories with its own internal staircases that are inaccessible from elsewhere in the house. The ground floor has a large dining space, with kitchens tucked away in the cellars beneath it, as well as a massive central gallery for entertaining, adorned with trophies of war and featuring a short stage for minstrels, a serving table for food and plenty of lounging space. It also features the large old war-table, once used to plan military campaigns, now as a prop for storytelling by members of the House discussing mercenary clashes.
- Swordwife's Watch: The main bulk of this building is a single story in height, but the tower rises a full three stories and is crowned with an old brass brazier that is just shy of ten feet across. Traditionally, when the lord of the House went away to war, his consort lit a great flame in this brazier and kept it burning until his return. Though the brazier hasn't been lit in generations (as the lords stopped leading mercenary companies themselves a long time ago), the house itself sees daily use. Its accommodations aren't as expansive as the main house's or even the Deeds House's. Nonetheless, it houses Magstine and her granddaughter Elisys, who find its size perfect for their needs.
- Deeds House: Generations ago, this three-story building was constructed to serve as House Husteem's business offices, where those interested in renting land or mercenaries from the Husteems might come to talk business. It was furnished opulently, providing furnishings to those rich clients who came from afar, allowing the Husteems to wine and dine them in style. Now that the Husteems maintain an officer whose job is to seek out the clients instead of waiting for clients to come to them, the Deeds House is used as the personal domicile of Evendur Husteem, a reward for his contributions to the family's prosperity.
- Dock Ward Properites: House Husteem owns a number of warehouses and shopfronts in the Dock Ward.
- Castle Ward Properties: House Husteem owns quite a few blocks of property in the Castle Ward, all of it used for businesses. The best known of these is the block bounded by the Street of the Sword and the Street of Bells on its west and east, and by Bazaar Street and Lamp Street to its north and south. The Husteem ladies have often been patrons of the Lightsingers Theater there.
- North Ward Properties: The Husteems mostly own rental properties in the North Ward, expensive places that the wealthy rent to give their offspring places of their own, or that noble and simply rich visitors rent for a season or so while they are in Waterdeep. There are also a few shopfronts owned by the Husteem, but Magstine has been working to divest the House of them in favor of other kinds of property.
House Husteem also owns quite a bit of land outside of Waterdeep proper. These include Silverblade Estate, a fine parcel of land with a fortified manorhouse on the edge of the Kryptgarden Forest that House Husteem sometimes uses as a hunting lodge and vacation spot. It is a Husteem family tradition to host a large hunting get-away, inviting other nobles of Waterdeep for time in the country hunting and feasting on the second tenday of Marpenoth.
They also maintain several large farms around the Goldenfields, Triboar, Red Larch and down into Daggerdale, as well as owning a few shops and other buildings in those small towns. The House has begun to look into properties in Secomber and Loudwater as well.
- The Silver Scimitars: Light cavalry, crossbowmen, infantry. The oldest of the Husteem mercenary companies, it is by the blades of the Silver Scimitars that the Husteems made their first fortune enough to buy land. As such, the Scimitars are always captained by a Husteem - Jamril Husteem, at current. They all fight with scimitars, the cavalry and infantrymen both using them (paired with a shield, in the infantry's case), and even the crossbowmen keep a scimitar by their sides. The Silver Scimitars are currently deployed in Daggerdale, under the employ of Zhentil Keep.
- The Arrowhawks: Archers, scouts. The Arrowhawks are fair archers, though unit quality has suffered in the past few years from heavy duty and the casualties that result. Their captain, Sundagost Far-Eye, a half-elven wizard/archer, is working hard on training the Arrowhawks back up to standards. They are currently based out of Waterdhavian barracks owned by the Husteems in the Dock Ward, and augment their income by taking coin from the City Guard to help bolster the defenses on the outer walls. Arrowhawks currently act as guards at the Husteem estate, as well.
- The Hellstags: Heavy infantry. The Hellstags are feared lancers, known for their green-laquered plate-and-chain armor and barding, and the heavy helms they wear. Their new captain, Tawnia Bloodlance, wears a great set of antlers affixed to her helm, as is the tradition of the Hellstags commander. Like the Silver Scimitars, the Hellstags are deployed in Daggerdale.
- The Thunderhelms: Heavy cavalry, light cavalry, engineers. A mercenary company meant for heavy siegecraft, the Thunderhelms do other work as well. They are at their best when their best men can set up seige engines, protected from assault by patrols of light cavalry, with heavy horse on hand to deflect any forward attacks that might approach the company. At present, the Thunderhelms are not under contract.
Rumors About House Husteem
It is said that...
- ...Wandthana Husteem, the mother of Lord Orbos, Orlpar and Audyna, was one of the few apprentices who escaped Maaril's Tower. Some claim it is because he was in love with the lovely Wandthana, and she outwitted the usual fate that rumor says awaits his apprentices. Others say that it is simply because she was an apprentice to him in the days before he soured. Those who enjoy such tales claim that is true, but that his souring and turn towards evil is because she broke his heart.
- ...Lord Orbos Husteem keeps a secret Calishite-style harem somewhere hidden on the Husteem estate, and that his conflict with his brother comes of the younger Husteem's constantly helping himself to the lovely slaves his older brother keeps. It is said that any boys born into the harem are raised in a Husteem property somewhere until they are of age, at which point they are shipped off to fight in one of the Husteem mercenary companies.
- ...Luna Husteem is not simply perpetually ill - she is addicted to a variety of drugs. Those who once knew her say that she used to be a fiery-tempered woman used to getting her way, and whisper that her husband had her addicted so that he could manage her easily.
- ...Alyra Ammakyl didn't just marry into House Ammakyl - she found refuge there. She fled to her friend Chusya's house late one winter evening, covered in bruises and welts from her father's wrath over some perceived failing. Chusya could see no way to keep her family from sending Alyra back to Lord Orbos without instigating a feud with House Husteem, so the two girls eloped to the Plinth and found a drunken priest there to marry them. Alyra took the name Ammakyl, and became part of Chusya's House, much to Lord Orbos' fury.
- ...Evendur Husteem only entered the faith of Mystra to infuriate his father, and only because he was manipulated into it by the Temple Magister of Mystra, Meleghost Starseer. Meleghost and Lord Orbos were rivals for the affections of Luna in their youth, and the high priest of Mystra has always hated Orbos for his victory. Part of his revenge involves luring the young and promising son of House Husteem away from his father's graces and into the priesthood, where he has power over him.
- ...Orlpar Husteem is not simply a wastrel and celebrant. He is also one of the foremost dealers of haunspeir, mordayn powder and tekkil among the nobility. He is even said to have a variety of contacts and distribution networks so vast that part of House Husteem's fortunes depend on its operation, which is why his brother hates him so.
- ...Audyna Husteem has been known to employ her divine gifts - for pay or other rewards - to those nobles that have someone they wish put to the question with discretion and alacrity. In short, she has occasionally rented out her gifts at inflicting pain on others to nobles with a need to torture someone.
- It is also said that Audyna is in the process of making plans with Hlethvagi Anteos to establish a Waterdhavian temple to Loviatar. They are doing this by slowly spreading Loviataran worship among the young, decadent nobles of Waterdeep as perverse bedchamber games, turning others to the reverence of the Lady of Pain and gaining financial support for their project.
- ...Jamril and his nephew Lord Orbos quarrelled when Orbos was newly-made lord, and Jamil drew steel on him. Orbos - nowhere near as capable a fighter as his uncle - survived only through the intervention of his aunt Coremita. In retaliation, though, he has put a contract on his uncle's life. Even today, Jamril has to deal with occasional attempts on his life, which is why he tends to remain out in the camps of his mercenary company, an environment he can control the security of.
- ...Xyrvyra Husteem and the Veiled Vixens are a secret cabal of Bhaal-worshippers who lure men in with their wiles and riches and then sacrifice them to the Lord of Murder. (This rumor is mostly told about the Veiled Vixens in general, owing to the fact that several of them are widows several times over. Xyrvyra is simply included because she is part of their circle.)
- ...Ianhorne Husteem was, during his day, notorious for his corruption of other young noblemen. He was said to either be using drugs or magic to affect other young men into affection to him. Others claim he is simply a seducer of such skill that the normal preferences of his targets don't matter at all. The number of his angry former Waterdhavian lovers became so great that his father Jamril sent him away for his own good. Aaromore isn't really his consort - he is his bodyguard, to prevent those jilted and distressed former lovers from taking their vengeance. He continued to use his talents, drugs or magic on the attractive young men of the Hellstags, however, until his presence was such a disturbance that his aunt has had to lay claim to him and take him traveling with her to avoid violence in his old unit.
- ...Thonan Husteem was such a philanderer that his older brother Lord Traster was constantly having to deal with claims of bastardy from young women. It got to the point that he established a home among the House's Waterdhavian properties, installed servants to care for and raise the boys, and as they reached adulthood sent them to minor positions in Husteem mercenary companies or used them as agents of the House. It is said that Lord Orbos and Orlpar both continue to employ "Thonan's Bastards" in this way.
- ...Magstine Husteem and Lord Orbos are more than simply confidants, but actually lovers. It is said that Magstine was a festhall girl in her youth, but quickly snared the philandering Thonan for herself early on, and now has her hooks in Lord Orbos.
- ...Zinnaora and Leorry Husteem remain outside the city because Leorry is wanted by the magistrates as part of an investigation into some possibly illegal doings. When he was a city clerk, he used his position and influence to help House Husteem acquire some lands in illegal ways, benefiting the House enough that he earned himself a noble bride. The couple intend on staying outside of the city (except for the occasional day-or-two visit, just short enough a time for the authorities to not notice before they're gone) until the investigation has died down some.
- ...House Husteem's Dock Ward Holdings includes some of the most notoriously vile tenements in the ward. The Husteems are effectively slum lords, operating through intermediaries to keep their name from being attached to the appalling sites where they profit heavily off the misery of those forced to live there.