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. Unlike many Houses who worship less-than-savory deities, the Husteems have never hidden their faith. They have historically had a long connection with the priesthoods of Loviatar, and continue to do so to this day. Indeed, they take great delight in making other nobles squirm by bringing up their faith.
Members of the Family
- Lord Erland Husteem: Patriarch (Renown 10) • 52 years. A great bull of a man, Lord Erland is an old campaigner from his youthful days. Despite his long time as a soldier, he is without question one of lords best suited to the title in Waterdeep: calm, dignified, unflinchingly polite, and yet possessed of a magnetic, forceful personality. It is suspected that many a maid and lady has fallen for his charms, though he permits no hint of his affairs to escape his confidences. Yet those who assumes this means he cares nothing for his consort are sorely mistaken: he clearly adores her above all others, and works tirelessly to give her what she desires in the world. Most other noblemen have one of two reactions to him: they either resent his unflappable, seemingly easy nobility, or they want his approval and friendship, with most leaning towards the latter. Lord Erland is unquestionably one of the finest lords in Husteem history, and an important figure among his peers in society.
- Nariel Husteem: Consort (Renown 7) • 48 years. Darkly beautiful and yet matronly at the same time, Nariel is the sort of noblewoman who smiles with her lips but never her eyes, and seems to be perpetually bored or distracted. She is not nearly so popular as her husband, and that is largely because she seems to hardly pay any attention to the task of being a noble: she never seems to remember names and only ever half pays attention to conversations going on around her. Fortunately, it is easy for her to make use of Erland's shine when she is in public with him (she rarely goes out to social events without him). She is quite canny and intelligent, however, so that her distraction comes off as less a matter of simple-mindedness, and more of a judgment, failing to find her peers at all interesting enough to pay attention to. For a while, she was something of a mystery to the peerage, as Erland simply presented her to society at his engagement society. In time it was revealed that she was a high-ranking priestess of Loviatar who gave over her vestment to marry Erland Husteem. She is quite proud of her daughters and their devotion to the Painmaiden.
- Tareth Husteem: Firstborn daughter (Renown 8) • 22 years. Eschewing the heirdom to the House, Tareth left the city once she was of age, taking vows as one of Loviatar's sworn. No one really knows where she is today, although conjecture about her fate is a favorite source of rumors in Waterdeep.
- Fyrmyra Husteem: Heir, secondborn daughter (Renown 5) • 19 years. The House's heir, Fyrmyra has her mother's beauty and her father's easy magnetism. She is wildly popular among her peers, both for her love of wicked mockery of those who draw her attention, her love of hedonistic parties, and her sheer social adroitness. Only two years out of her Coming Out, Fyrmyra holds court with nobles many years older than she. She has been known to display clerical magics, and is unflinching in her faith to Loviatar.
- Belress Husteem: Thirdborn daughter (Renown 0) • 16 years. The younger of the three daughters, Belress is what her elder sisters are not: plain, studious, and somewhat socially distant. Though some interpret is as shyness, Belress' social hesitation isn't bashfulness: it is contempt. She is very much her mother's daughter, with no use for "useless, silly people," as she has loftily proclaimed on more than one occasion. She is a dedicated theologian, having insisted on being allowed to study with a variety of theological masters of many faiths rather than the tedious finishing schools her peers were sent to.
- Riia Husteem: Paymaster, patriarch's younger sister (Renown 9) • 45 years. The Paymaster of the Husteem mercenaries has traditionally been a woman for generations, and Riia continues that tradition. Erland's younger sister, she has the same strongly magnetic personality, although she is less-inclined toward noble life. She vastly prefers life among soldiers, and her early adulthood was spent as an officer in the Silver Scimitars. The previous Paymaster Tantess took her on as an apprentice, and she took over the role at the age of 28, and has served well ever since. She has a distant but fond relationship with her son Roalon, though was not present for much of his childhood.
- Burlondus Husteem: Captain of the Thunderhelms, Riia's consort (Renown 6) • 47 years. Captain of the Thunderhelms, Burlondus is a big Cormyran military man who fell in love with Riia during a campaign where the Hellstages and Silver Scimitars worked together in the Western Heartlands around Triel. He is obviously uncomfortable at the Husteem villa, however, and tends to avoid it. Still, he spends a few tendays a year in Waterdeep with his family, mostly with he and Riia sequestered in their suites away from the world.
Patriarch's nephew, Riia's firstborn son (Renown 2) • 26 years
A surly and belligerent young man who holds a grudge for a seeming eternity, Roalon was a favorite of Lord Erland's until Erland received of Roalon (at age 14) being caught in an "intimate grapple" with one of the stableboys his age. Lord Erland chastised him for unmanliness, and Roalon responded with fury. The quiet boy disappeared and became a clench-jawed young brawler only too happy to square up with anyone who so much as looked sideways at him. Today, Roalon is still a fighter without equal in the Waterdhavian villa. He has not abandoned his "unmanly" tendencies, however; if anything, his fury and fisticuffs simply makes it more dangerous for Erland or anyone to chastise him for them. He is a member of the Popinjays, a clique of noblemen who are part of Waterdeep's Twilight Vaeteru. He and his father have long not spoken to one another over Roalon's refusal to take a commission with the Hellstags.
- Resources Limit: If necessary, House Husteem could probably generate about 39,000 gp in liquid coin and valuables within a month.
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.
- Galeturrets: 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.
- 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 given over to the heads of other family lines who have contributed strongly to the family's fortunes: in the current case, to the sister of the patriarch and her family.
- 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.
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 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.
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: Renown 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: Renown 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: Renown 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): Renown 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: Renown 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: Renown 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: Renown 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: Renown 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: Renown 10. The patriarch of the House is in total control of the House's finances and various holdings, established by the laws of Waterdeep.