13th Age: The Beggar Queen, an Alternate Icon
We hope you are enjoying our series of Alternate Icons for 13th Age. If you haven’t yet, read the previous entries in the series: the Usurper, Deposed Heir, Fleshcrafter, Herald, Wandering Spirit Guild Mistress, the Mother, and the Tinkerer. Returning to the cities, we introduce the Beggar Queen, the equal and opposite of the Shadow Prince.
The Beggar Queen rules over those forgotten by the wealthy and the population at large. Beggars living on the streets are shunned by society, hurried along by law enforcement, ignored by the common folk, kicked and spat upon by the arrogant, and blamed for every social ill by politicians. They have become use such treatment, but when the truly horrific happens, the one calling herself the Beggar Queen is the only one they have to turn to. The “Patron of the Undeserving” as she calls herself stands up to those that would steal from them, hunt them for sport, and take their children away.
“You may think you are better than us, but we will all equally be worm food someday. If you don’t want that day to come sooner, you had better not cross us.”
The Catacombs, Beneath the former Imperial capital of Skybound City, are the catacombs where the dead are buried. Among those chiseled out beds in the rock where bodies can be laid to rest, the poor and homeless sleep. In the forgotten grand internment chamber beneath the city center is where the Beggar Queen holds court. With her crown of twisted wire and her royal robe of ill-tanned hides, she sits upon a throne of junk giving solutions to any problems the forgotten folk have.
Most of society only hears of the Beggar Queen when there is a riot of poor people, fighting for enough food to live and fair wages when they can find work. Such disruptions to daily life in the city make people resentful and hate her cause.
The Icon and Adventurers
The Beggar Queen never parts with money when she can and as such never “hires” adventurers. However, she does point adventurers to where they can find some riches when depriving those riches of someone will serve her aims. Her aims typically involve revenge upon those that cheat and steal from homeless folk. To adventurers she trusts, she will ask them to steal children back from those that have “adopted” children from parents deemed unable to provide them a proper home.
Being homeless herself, the Beggar Queen trusts no one and has no allies among the other icons. However, she will work with any of them when it suits her needs and lines her pockets. When either the Usurper or the Deposed Heir need information on the other’s side, the Beggar Queen makes inquiries. When the Fleshcrafter needs body parts dug up from holy ground, the Beggar Queen finds volunteers. The Tinkerer has heard that someone is using his gadgets in ways to harm people, the Beggar Queen knows someone who was there.
While she is willing to work with almost any icon, that doesn’t mean that the others will publicly acknowledge her and her people’s contributions. The Usurper is ready to denounce the Beggar Queen as a spy for the Deposed Heir. The Fleshcrafter publicly makes jokes about how it would be fitting to turn the Beggar Queen into one of his animated golems. The Deposed Heir refers to her as evidence of the Usurper’s weakness, allowing her to keep operating and disrupting life for the common person. The Beggar Queen makes them each pay for their actions, frequently by requiring higher prices for her assistance.
The one icon that the Beggar Queen almost never works with is the Guild Mistress. Because beggars are frequently unskilled, they are never hired by the Guild Mistress or any of her people. Those that do hire them are kicked out of the guild when knowledge of such actions become public. For whatever reason, such actions always become public. The Beggar Queen wants to find out who is making such knowledge public since work for the Guild tend to pay better, if below what a full guild member would have to be paid.
No one really knows where the Beggar Queen emerged from. Some say she was a noblewoman that is believed to have been killed by the Usurper’s troops. Others say she was a seamstress that was cursed by the Mother and was sent away by her husband. There are rumors that she is just angry at the world and is trying to win the loyalty of every homeless before she has them take over. A few say her child was taken from her, and accidentally caused the child’s death while trying to steal the child back. No matter what the real story is, she takes on those that abuse her people, like a mother caring for her child.
The Reason to Fear
Those loyal to the Beggar Queen can emerge anywhere at any time, enacting whatever vengeance she deems necessary.
While many fear that the homeless will form an army under the Beggar Queen, they are terrified of the very real army being formed und the Witch King. This unholy commander of evil forces is the equal and opposite of the Orc Warlord. Read about him next month when we detail this icon at the JBE Blog.