Thugee

In Bazram, there exists a highly violent criminal organization known as Thugee. So long have they existed in those lands that it is said that the Common word "thug" derives from their name. Each individual Thugee gang is headed by a leader known as a Jemadar. The Jemadar do not conflict over territory, as they see themselves as all being one in the same 'family'. Members are rarely accepted from outside the group, as membership is usually passed from father to son. Some Thugee can trace their lineage all the way back to the original founders, whose names are lost to history and lore; all of the Jemedar with few exceptions can do so.

They are mostly composed of rouges and similar types, but they are not without their arcanists. There are more than a few Thugee Warlocks; second class citizens due to the caste structure of Bazrami society, a number of Warlocks seen as Pariah in conventional society prefer life in the gangs or more accurately criminal "tribes" of Thugee. This has only added to the paranoia and prejudice that surrounds those with sorcerous powers.

They are best known for ambushing the caravans that traverse the countryside. However, Thugee are not mere highwaymen that might commit simple, dare one say ‘routine’ armed robbery as people are used to. When Thugee strike, no one survives. Men, women, children, armed or not are slaughtered. They are highly organized, well coordinated, and extremely disciplined to the point that their criminal acts might be compared with military operations.

They typically begin by having a some their members infiltrate a caravan, becoming accepted as a traveler. These caravans were never those on short journey’s, no matter how much booty they carried. This ensured that the victims would be far from home, and far from any settlement, or place of refuge. Blending amongst them they would accompany the caravan sometimes for hundreds of miles, before carefully steering them into a kill zone in the name of ‘taking a shortcut’, a special place such as a series of caves, a riverside, or some other such place whose topography was well suited to leaving few escape routes and hiding places –which if they existed the Thugee would have been sure to memorize. Hidden in these kill zones they call ‘Belel” , more Thugee would be laying in wait for the proper signal. The Thugee would stealthily execute travelers under the cover of darkness- or if need be, during the day, while Thugee bards covered the sounds of their killings with raucous music.

Typically two or three Thugee would attack a victim at once, attempting to grapple and kill with their signature exotic weapon-the garrote. Rather than a fine wire to cut the victims throat, this was usually a simple length of cloth often worn as a turban or sash, making it appear as though they were unarmed. Strangling the victim made for silent, bloodless killings. Making off with all of the bounty of the caravan, wagons and all, only bodies with crushed throats would be left. Sometimes the remains of dozens would be dumped to wash up on a river bank, other times they would be heaped in mass graves, and occasionally they would be scattered in the tall grass. Whenever, if ever they were found, their decayed forms would pose a horrifying reminder.

In addition to raiding caravans the Thugee also hire themselves out as mercenaries. Their training and technique are well suited to assassinations, and more than a few important people in Bazram have met their end at their hands. Within the cities of Bazram they profit greatly from an illicit drug trade, as well as prostitution, with Thugee babus (see Life In Shimin –Red Light District’) running brothels out of their homes or tenement buildings they own.

It is rumored that many of the Jemedar are powerful Warlocks, but it is unknown where their powers stem from. Some may have fiendish blood in their lineage that stretches back centuries, or perhaps far more recently injected into the bloodlines of the leadership through sexual rites with demons-perhaps producing sons and future Jemadar some would consider to be…unnatural. Others are said to have spontaneously gained eldritch powers through dark pacts with strange entitities, dark gods, or Abyssal lords. In fact, one of the reason’s it's believed they kill so thoroughly even when in the far countryside or wilderness is not so that no victim will escape remembering their face- but because they venerate dark powers that are pleased with their mass murder as a form sacrifice. It remains unknown whether they are really a dark cult, or simply a ruthless criminal organization. The Thugee would prefer people believed both, or which ever instills the most fear.

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