World of Kulan DM
Last Laugh Thieves’ GuildSource: Shackled City Adventure Path
Origin: Thunder Lands
Symbol: The silhouetted profile of a laughing jester or a stylized black and white jester mask made of two four-point stars and a crescent moon.
DM's Note: This entry contains spoilers for the Shackled City Adventure Path!
Leaders: “The guild’s leaders, called Jesters, form an inner circle that oversees all guild activities” (LBWE, pg. 1). The guild has different Jesters in different regions, so the Jesters in the City-state of Cirrus aren't the same Jesters that control the activities of the Last Laugh in the Strandlands. Very few Jesters are openly known to be guild masters of the Last Laugh.
Here is list of some of the known Jesters throughout the Thunder Lands: Jacob Taskerhill (LN male Anorian human, aristocrat 4/rogue 8/monk 8) – Cauldron [lawful faction]; Aryira Oliverio (NE female Ervenik human, fighter 6/rogue 10) – Anoria; “Lady Death” (CE female Tahrannuti human, cleric of Vespin 15) – Cauldron [chaotic faction]; Wyrmarnare (N male half-elf, rogue 10) – Cirrus.Notable Members: Darel Willowtree (CN male half-elf, rogue 4/fighter 4); Fulgar Crystalmantle (N male hill dwarf, aristocrat 6/fighter 6); Joaquim Iravedra (CN male human, rogue 8/cleric of Olidammara 5); Nolan Fullecoppe (NE male hairfoot halfling, rogue 8); Vivianne Kerrick (CN female Denilan human, rogue 5/ranger 5).
Purpose“The Last Laugh Thieves' Guild oversees various rackets and specializes in security, blackmail, extortion, and assassination” [in many regions throughout the Thunder Lands and beyond] (“Life's Bazaar” Web Enhancement [LBWE], pg. 1). The guild also wishes to subvert other thieves' guild, and its leaders want to rise to positions of power in legitimate society without exposing their illegal ventures.
Notable Activities“The Jesters . . . rely on an intricate network of spies, agents, and informants. Their immediate subordinates are called harlequins — skilled rogues and assassins who paint their faces and handle much of the guild’s “dirty work.” The guild also uses spies — called mimes — to infiltrate rival organizations, verify rumors, and gather information on troublesome bands of adventurers” (LBWE, pg. 1).
The Last Laugh expands into new territories whenever possible. They are famous for recruiting locals into the guild by giving support to the recruit's family. This support almost always comes with a price. The guild actively recruits members from rival guilds regardless of the risk. The Last Laugh has made many enemies this way, but they come out on top more often than not. They will go so far as to wipe out rivals in brutal gang wars and coups using mimes to subvert rivals from within.
“The Last Laugh mints its own currency by melting down [the] sovereign coins [of nations] and recasting them with the guild’s jester insignia” (LBWE, pg. 1). They use these coins to undermine barristers, guilds, moneylenders, shops, and even governments. The Last Laugh also use the coins to bribe bandits and pirates to do special projects for the guild. They often leave a Jester's Coin behind when they do a special job for their guild masters.
Campaign NotesSince the history of the Last Laugh Thieves' Guild is strongly tied to the Thunder Lands, those lands are where they have the strongest influence. They once had a great deal of influence in the lands and communities of the Kul Moren Mountains. However, since the formation of the Order of the Silver Hand and the Disciples of the Bloodsun, the guild has fallen on hard times in Cauldron and Kul Moren. It hasn't helped that one of the Jesters of the Cauldron region formed an alliance with the Order. This man, Jacob Taskerhill, is trying to legitimize the Last Laugh in Cauldron under the watchful eye of Lord Mayor Hezekiah Grofus. Note: Taskerhill is also a magistrate in Cauldron.
This has caused a schism through the remaining members of the Last Laugh in Cauldron and Kul Moren. After Taskerhill revealed himself to be a Jester to the citizens and promised to reform the guild, many of his former allies turned on him. This included the Jester known only as “Lady Death.” This vicious woman is actually a middle-class merchant, named Rane Kiduttaan, with holdings in Anoria, Cirrus, Flamerule, and Izmer, as well as in Cauldron. So far she has managed to keep her identity a secret from Taskerhill and the leaders of the Order of the Silver Hand. She has put a considerable bounty on the head of Taskerhill and Hezekiah Grofus but so far, she hasn't had her harlequins go after Argo Flameheart and the other leaders of the Order.
The faction in Cauldron under the leadership of Taskerhill isn't the only group of Last Laugh rogues trying to go legitimate. There is small group of rogues in the Duchy of Minar that are trying to set up a mercenary company using the insignia and name of the Last Laugh. They are led by a woman named Vivianne Kerrick; she doesn't refer to herself as a Jester. These rogues, scouts, and bards seem to have left behind the viciousness of the Last Laugh guilds of the Thunder Lands. So far, they have managed to coexist peacefully with the Eyes of Hande and Tiger Guild. (The fact that these Last Laugh rogues seem determined to operate out in the open as a mercenary company has helped.)
The worst of the Last Laugh can now be found in the Fallen Domain of Anoria. Despite the iron-fisted rule of the Infernals of the Diabolic Enclaves, Anoria is still a city with its own criminal element. The Last Laugh Thieves Guild has existed in Anoria almost as long as it has existed in Cauldron. There use to be several Jesters controlling the activities of the guild in Anoria but now there is only one. Aryira Oliverio is a mean-spirited woman with a lust for vengeance and evil. She is the sister of one of the most famous commanders of Flamerule, Tarsus Oliverio (LE male Ervenik human Ftr18), who now oversees much of the day-to-day activities of Anoria's government. Publicly, the two are enemies but the truth is that the two of them work together to control every aspect of Anorian society.
The Last Laugh can be found in every major city and city-state in the Thunder Lands but each individual guild rarely works willingly with other Last Laugh guilds. The group has become so decentralized that no one person could hope to unite all the guilds into one massive thieves' guild. Many have tried, but they have all failed. The Last Laugh seems to be built around gaining power for oneself, first, and everyone else in the guild, second. There are exceptions, however. The Last Laugh rogues in Cirrus follow the leadership of a Jester named Wyrmarnare. No one in the guild has any idea who the mysterious Jester is, but it is believed that he is nearly a hundred-years-old and cannot be killed.
If they learned the truth, that “Wyrmarnare” is only a name used by the Council of Jesters to control the guild, then the guild in Cirrus would likely fall apart. It was decided ages ago that the underworld life in Cirrus is so complex and divided that no one person should hold absolute power in the guild. However, it has to appear that way to the lower-level members of the guild or the various factions within the guild would go to war on the streets and sky-ways of the city-state. The power of the name has kept the peace in the Cirrus guild for almost forty years and the high-ranking members of the Last Laugh in the city-state prefer to keep it that way.