Respected and feared, the Iron Ring is a consortium of all of the major slaver powers within Skullport, joined together in an uneasy alliance for the sake of good business. With open warfare an impossibility under the watchful eyes of the Skulls, and parties such as the Harpers and the Eilistraeeans of the Promenade eager to strike against the flesh market wherever possible, the group put their rivalries out of sight to maximise profit and protect their product.
Iron Ring enforcers are a common sight in Skullport, striking an imposing figure out in the open as a constant reminder of the kind of businesses that profit in such an environment. They are easily identified by their namesake iron keyrings that hang in open sight for all to see, and are fearfully avoided by Skulkers with any kind of sense of self-preservation.
The Iron Ring operates out of Skull Island, a fortified position manned by a disciplined and professional guard force. Here slaves are processed and their well-being ensured on their way to the market, with escape attempts being swiftly and brutally put down.
Despite its dreaded reputation, the Iron Ring's objective of not letting anything affect its bottom line has some indirect effects. Foreign powers that would subvert Skullport for their own means are rebuffed and must tread carefully, the slavers eager not to have any prying into their business. They also donate slave labour and funding on occasion to the repair and upkeep of vital facilities such as the roads, catwalks and streets. considering these necessary civic duty if doing otherwise would restrict their activities.
NOTABLE FIGURES OF THE IRON RING:
Quinan Varnaed - The most powerful slaver of the Iron Ring and a faithful servant of Loviatar, Quinan commands respect and fear as the informal leader of the organisation. Quinan is the most hated man in Skullport, and his continued existence would not be possible were it not for the vast resources he commands by having the grudging co-operation of nearly every slaver in Skullport. A self-made man, he started as a small-time sellsword doing odd jobs for petty slavers, eventually working his way up to the point of co-founding the organisation with the Yuan-Ti known as Zstulkk Ssarmn. While slaving rings existed for many years prior to this in Skullport, the formation of the Iron Ring ensured that the business remained a profitable venue to all parties, and put a stop to the turf wars and violent actions the groups took against one another (at least the overt ones). Quinan oversees his operations from the feared Tower of Seven Woes on Skull Island, where those who draw his ire are taken to be tortured and rarely return.
Zstulkk Ssarmn - A prominent Yuan-Ti slaver and co-founder of the Iron Ring (alongside Quinan Varnaed), Zstulkk commands vast packs of Yuan-Ti "jailers", who stalk the winding passages and alleyways of Skullport looking for easy marks when not transporting or guarding existing stock. Though he does have outstanding rivalries with other groups, Zstulkk largely wants to keep the peace and ensure stable profits and good business. He is keen for the moment for the multiple slaver groups to cancel each other out, and for one power not to become great enough to challenge the others. Zstulkk operates from the Halls of the Iron Ring on Skull Island, though occasionally makes visits to the Slaver's Market.
Ahmaergo, the Horned Dwarf - The slaver known as the Horned Dwarf (named for his distinctive "horned" black iron plate mail) runs a highly disciplined and organised slaver operation known as the Xanathar Slavers Guild. Ahmaergo has established strong diplomatic and business ties with the Duergar of Skullport, but his rivalry with figures such as Ztulkk Ssarmn and Misker the Pirate Tyrant has threatened to spiral out of control and plunge the city into open warfare. Rumour has it that Ahmaergo has a superior above even him, with some pointing out that frequency of messages leaving the city as evidence to the claim. Of course, nobody would dare mention these rumours within earshot of the Horned Dwarf himself.
Transtra - A lamia-turned entrepreneur, Transtra first appeared as the owner of the festhall known as the Long Slow Kiss, coincidentally just after its previous owners suddenly disappeared. Transtra quickly also took over the adjoining properties, expanding the establishment both upward and outward and filling it with escorts from all corners of the realms. It is from here that Transtra conducts slavery business, though she does occasionally tend to it personally by making a visit to the Halls of the Iron Ring. Transtra seems to have her fingers in every dirty business in Skullport, and she readily makes and breaks agreements depending on whether it's still convenient to hold up her end of the bargain. Her loyal workforce largely consists of thugs made up from male humans and humanoids such as orcbloods and hobgoblins, though whether their loyalty is a result because of her charismatic personality or means more sinister is anyone's guess. It is rumoured that Transtra owns some kind of monster deep within the property, a rumour seemingly supported by the fact that a number of those who have displeased her during their time there have disappeared without trace. She has recently been known to hire adventurers for tasks in the Undermountain, though nobody knows what her true goals could be in such a place.
Malakuth Tabuirr - The Drow leader of the Dark Dagger cell of Skullport, Malakuth has his hands in not only slavery, but also mercenary work, thievery, smuggling, and trading, amongst other things. Malakuth often conducts his business out of his office in the Iron Halls, though often visits the Slaver's Market to see how business is doing. Next to nothing is known of Malakuth's activities before he came to be in Skullport, and seemingly nobody had heard of him up until the point he arrived and began rebuilding the Dark Dagger's reputation after it was gutted by an attack by Calishite agents. While he has rivalries with many different organisations (among them Misker the Pirate Tyrant, the Horned Dwarf's Xanathar Slavers Guild, and the drow of House Tanor'Thal of Karsoluthiyl), Malakuth prefers that his agents do their business in the shadows, keeping their distance outside of the realm of plausible deniability.
Focus (significant) or chartered (player-created) factions are joinable.
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