Autochon the Bellringer

Enzo Sarlas's picture

Children in Sigil, like children anywhere, play at being soldiers and wizards and lords of state. But in the Cage, there's one profession that inspires the best games, and that profession is the courier. Children race from street corner to doorway to midden heap delivering 'secret messages', finessing their way past clumsy guards and stodgy servants, and dodging ambushes to arrive safely back at the mysterious Palace of the Jester.

Autochon the Bellringer was once such a child, and he played at the game of courier like no other. He was handsome, fleet of foot, and determined to succeed at all costs. It would come as no surprise to anyone that he would later choose a career as a courier or that he would excel at it. When Autochon founded his own courier service, it was no surprise that it too would succeed. Autochon would accept no less. Soon, Sigil's golden lords hired only Autochon's runners and messengers. 

Delivering messages and parcels for the high-ups of the Cage was a risky business and Autochon's rise to success had attracted the wrong sort of attention. Ambushes and outright attacks on his couriers became a daily occurrence, but Autochon was determined to succeed; he must succeed. Autochon bargained for protection. Only he can say whether the price was too high.

In the wake of the Lady’s Edict, many of the old guilds rose again to prominence and a new economy evolved. Autochon was no fool – he saw his opportunity and took it. He petitioned the city council for guild status and his request was granted. Guild status allowed him to expand his monopoly on runners and messengers within the Cage, and granted him the legal authority to stamp out any competition. Demand for his services rose sharply.

In the first year alone, the armored guildmaster doubled his retinue of runners and messengers. The dark of it is, despite his heavy-handed management style, Sigil’s runners and messengers had always enjoyed a certain romantic appeal; especially among the underprivileged youth. Now, the sight of young cutters, sporting the guildmark of the Runners and Messengers Guild, dashing about on important errands, and meeting with the Cage’s Golden Lords, was all the advertisement Autochon needed to gain new recruits.

Autochon was brutal in his authority, make no mistake. Among his guildmembers, it was muttered that the true guildmark of the Runners and Messengers Guild was a black eye, rather than the Astral Streaker; nevertheless a certain sense of pride and camaraderie began to set in. These young cutters, tiefers and bariaur mostly, eager to make a name for themselves, proudly wore the guildmark and called themselves Streakers. They never complained of Autochon’s brutality outside of their own circle.

But Autochon’s run of success may not last.

“Autochon. Come in, sit. And put that visor up. I will not talk to a helmet. Gods, must you wear that ugly, smelly armor all the time? Right, the Bells. Never mind. I’m sure you know why I’ve summoned you.”

                                         “Yes, milady. Please be assured that…”

“I don’t want to hear it, Autochon. I’ve been patient, but no longer. I cannot, I will not, tolerate these leaks. I’m trying to run a business here and I can’t do it with that titan bitch knowing the dark of my every plan and deal.”

“Shemeska, please bear with me a little longer. I must have more time to find the source of the leaks.”

“I like you, Autochon, you know that. I have always looked after your interests. When you first came to me about the attacks on your couriers, did I not offer a solution? Of course I did. Fiendish protection from the Temple of the Abyss, as I recall, in exchange for free courier service. Noxana the Unwilling prepared the contract herself. Was it my fault you dallied with her? No. And was it my fault that High Priest Noshteroth cursed you for it? No. But when you came to me then, half-mad from the tolling of the Bells of Baphomet, and demanded my aid, did I turn you away? No. The armor you now live in was my gift to you, to protect you from the Bells. And what have I ever asked of you in return? A pittance, that is what; a meager share of your earnings and your protection for Kylie.”

        “I am grateful for all you’ve done, milady, but…”

“Sort it out, Autochon. I don’t care how, just sort it out. If your little currs cannot deliver my missives with discretion, then I will find others who can, guilds be damned. Now, before you leave, tell me...”

                    “What do you think of my new bracelet?”

 The armored guildmaster made his way through Sigil's streets to the Palace of the Jester. He was in a foul mood. All that he had worked for seemed to be slipping from his gauntleted grasp. The 'foggy darks' -- leaked information somehow obtained from his runners and couriers -- were causing him no end of trouble. He'd spent the last two days trying to mollify the various Golden Lords, each of whom had been embarrassed in some way by the leaked darks, and each one had threatened to remove him, forcefully if necessary, and put another in his place.

Perhaps it was time to reconsider the Silent Couriers. He could think of half a dozen runners already who might fit the part. It was a particular honor to be called for such duty... even if it did mean losing one's tongue.

Autochon the Bellringer
(planar / male human / fighter 12 / neutral evil)
Male human Fighter 12: CR 12; med humanoid (human); HD 12d10+36; hp 112; Init +5; Spd 30 ft. ft; AC 23 (+1 Dex, +9 full plate armor, +3 ring of protec; Base Atk +12/+15; Grp +20 melee (+3 scimitar of speed 1d6+8, 16-20/x2); Atk +20/+20/+15/+10 melee (+3 scimitar of speed 1d6+8, 16-20/x2); SA Grey Waste Plate, Bells of Baphomet; AL NE; SV Fort +11, Ref +5, Will +6; Str 16, Dex 12. Con 17, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 8.
Skills and Feats: Bluff +7, Gather Information +3, Intimidate +18, Knowledge (Sigil) +6, Knowledge (the Planes) +6, Listen +5, Profession (courier) +6, Sense Motive +3, Spot +2; Cleave, Great Cleave, Endurance, Leadership, Iron Will, Persuasive, Alertness, Weapon Focus (scimitar), Greater Weapon Focus (scimitar), Improved Critical (scimitar), Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Specialization. Speaks: Planar Common, Celestial, Infernal and Abyssal.
Special Abilities:

      Grey Waste Plate, +1: This massive suit of dull grey, spiked full plate armor, forged on the Grey Waste, protects Autochon from the ceaseless tolling of the Bells of Baphomet at the Temple of the Abyss, and also from the temple’s Demon of the Bells. In order to take advantage of this protection, Autochon must wear the entire suit of armor, including the helm and closed visor. The armor jingles with even the subtlest of movements, therefore Autochon cannot surprise foes. Furthermore, the weight of the armor imposes a cumulative -1 penalty to his attack rolls on each round of melee after the fifth.       Bells of Baphomet: When not protected by his plate armor, Autochon is tormented by the Bells of Baphomet – the tolling of the bells keeps him from sleep and drives him towards eventual madness. Each night spent unprotected, Autochon must make a Will save with a cumulative -1 penalty on each consecutive check. A failed save results in a night of madness, bloodlust and killing rages. The madness passes in the morning, but returns the following night.

Possessions: +3 scimitar of speed, +1 grey waste plate, +3 ring of protection.
Allies: Guildmaster, Runners and Messengers Guild
Enzo Sarlas's picture
Joined: 2004-05-13
Enjoyable, but more perhaps?

By:FyreHowl It's an enjoyable story and while you mention some of the back history, it's fairly breif. I honestly would like to see *more* about who he is and how he came to be there.

Thanks for the feedback. You're right, it did need more. I've added some background history, a little bit about the culture of the Streakers, and I've hinted at a possible return of the Silent Couriers. (My version of the Silent Couriers is a little more brutal than what's mentioned in Uncaged.) -- Enzo

FyreHowl's picture
Joined: 2003-12-28
Enjoyable, but more perhaps?

It's an enjoyable story and while you mention some of the back history, it's fairly breif. I honestly would like to see *more* about who he is and how he came to be there.

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