Faction: The Zhentarim
Birthplace: Baldur’s Gate
Goals: See to the welfare of his friends and family, and rise through the ranks of the Zhentarim.
Quirks: Hates cats, often buys dolls (to send to his niece in Waterdeep), stutters when he’s nervous, and is color blind.
Quote: “A true friend is worth her weight in gold.”
His real name is Halandar Hardingdale, but his associates call him Ratshadow. Growing up on the outskirts of Baldur’s Gate, with the rest of the city looking down on him, he relied on wits and stealth to survive. He learned how to be a “clever weasel” and a “tough nut,” and when things got really bad, he joined a local gang called the Rivington Rats. At first, the gang leaders wanted nothing to do with him, but he fed them useful information and followed them around until, finally, he became one of them (earning his nickname in the process).
Ratshadow quickly realized that the Rivington Rats were too far from the real action for him to make money. He worked hard to expand his network of contacts, which included members of rival gangs. Eventually, the Rivington Rats took umbrage with his tactics and tried to murder him. Ratshadow bought passage for his mother and sisters on a ship heading to Waterdeep before taking refuge in the Undercellars of Baldur’s Gate, where a local kingpin called the Fetcher offered him shelter in exchange for a service to be named later.
Ratshadow repaid the Fetcher’s kindness by stealing a magic pouch from him—a mistake in hindsight, even though the item has proven most useful. The Fetcher set the local gangs against Ratshadow, who was forced to flee Baldur’s Gate. He hooked up with the Zhentarim in Waterdeep. In exchange for his unwavering loyalty, the Zhents promised protection for him and his family. Ratshadow’s friendly demeanor made him an adequate “face man” for the organization, and he was often paired with Zhent agents who lacked his social graces or thieving skills. He was recently dispatched to Ten Towns, where the Zhents are making inroads and gaining a foothold.
Ratshadow knows that the Zhentarim has a shady history and hasn’t always been on the “up and up,” but he believes the organization is in the midst of reinventing itself and can actually make the world a better, safer place. Call him an optimist. Yet for all his charms, he can be a cold-blooded killer if needs be, though he finds needless killing distasteful and damaging to the soul.