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Guttersnipes are only found
in a few of the bigger cities in Antaron where organized crime
has become an issue - Davnor, Bayris, and Relegas are excellent
examples. The inevitable product of war, they are orphans who
have been brought, by whatever means, to one of the great city
orphanages. The orphanages in question are owned and operated
by the Thieves Guild's many reputable houses and are funded
by generous donations from the various merchant and trade guilds
who recruit promising apprentices from among the wards.
The infants and toddlers are very well cared for and educated
in their letters and numbers. Once they reach the age of seven,
and on until about eleven, both boys and girls become guttersnipes.
They inhabit every nook and cranny of the city and become a
giant "information gathering machine" for hire.
Conversations are overheard from beneath grates, behind walls,
under beds, or anywhere a small child can squirm into. Guttersnipes
can hear and report about any potentially lucrative cargo or
person coming into or out of the city. They can discover secrets
of all kinds, provided the proper incentive is offered to the
Thieves Guild. These kids inhabit the underground and the rooftops,
the back alleys and the markets, often bearing news or messages
from one guild house to another while quietly keeping outside
the normal channels of open commerce.
Guttersnipes also provide the Guild with pickpocket revenue.
Here, they operate in small groups, with one distracting the
victim, two fleecing the mark, and a fourth stationed at a sewer
cover for a quick escape if necessary. The Guild is fined by
the city for every guttersnipe caught, and the prowess of the
guttersnipe is judged by the number of times he or she has been
apprehended. Those who have never been caught are groomed within
the Thieves Guild proper, whereupon their professional life
begins in earnest.
Guttersnipes are treated as first level thieves, but because
they act as a group, this level is more a reflection of the
group's overall skill. A guttersnipe's career is exactly five
years in duration, and as they grow older their level of ability
grows, as well. They possess all of the thief abilities, but
only as a group, and their percentage chance of successfully
using of any of these abilities depends upon their age. Realize
that success merely indicated that a skill is used successfully;
a normal check must still be made. It would hardly make sense
for an eleven year old child to be a better pickpocket, for
instance, than a seasoned thief.
When guttersnipes turn twelve years old, those who will remain
thieves are treated as level two. Those who have shown other
aptitudes during the four years of schooling they receive at
the orphanage will then be sent off to their respective "legal"
guild houses to begin their careers.
Thanks to Athelstan for this contribution!