3 The Golden Pillar Society

The Golden Pillar Society is a fraternal organization for the wealthier members of Freeport’s middle class. They sponsor many charitable works in the Eastern District and beyond. Some folks say that the members of the Golden Pillar try so hard to act nobly that they must have something to hide. Others say that view is unfairly cynical, and no-one has seen reason to dispute the group's charitable reputation.

Not everyone in Freeport is a crook, conman, or corsair. There are plenty of respectable burghers who own shops, keep scrupulous records, and take pride in the merchandise they sell. These are the folk who inhabit the Eastern District. While many Easterners are young and hungry, there is an “upper crust” of the middle class who has managed to hang onto their wealth over several generations, while never quite making it to the Merchant District. They live in tasteful townhouses— not fancy by any means but comfortable enough to afford a lifestyle worlds away from the average Freeporter—a closet full of clothes, a gaggle of children with eccentric nannies, handcrafted furniture, a cellar for wine and awkward heirlooms, and an attic for mad aunties.

Among this enlightened bourgeoisie, wealth has bred a strong sense of social responsibility. They may have money now, but searching just a few branches down the family tree reveals tradesmen and servants. Go a bit further, and you may find beggars or—heaven forbid—adventurers. So the upper middle class of Freeport are especially generous to people needing a hand up. Anyone who’s anyone in the Eastern District is a member of the Golden Pillar Society, a fraternal organization that specializes in charity work founded seventy-eight years ago. The society runs fund raisers for orphanages and hospices, creates jobs forcriminals trying to go straight, and hosts summits on any number of cultural flashpoint issues, inviting speakers to lecture on “The Half- Orc Question” or the economic effects of the Great Green Fire.

Among this enlightened bourgeoisie, wealth has acted as a spur to charity; it also has become an ever-tightening steam valve. The burghers see the extravagant life of the Merchant District’s wealthy, of the Captains’ Council, and of the famous privateers who make the town their home—and they quietly lick their lips. They want the license that goes with excessive wealth, but wild living would cost them the station they’ve carved out—generations’ worth of crawling up from the gutter blown to bits with one indiscreet night in a brothel.

The Golden Pillar Society is based out of a well-appointed townhouse near the walls of the Old City. The building has three stories and the aforementioned basement. The small staff works on the first floor, organizing the various charitable works from well-appointed offices. Paid watchmen can be found here from dusk to dawn. The upper two floors consist of various meeting rooms and studies for society members. The offices of the society president, Jeroen Vanderzee, and the exchequer, Tasin Berthain, are also on the top floor.

Prominent NPCs
Jeroen Vanderzee: Jeroen Vanderzee has been the president of the Golden Pillar Society for over thirty years. He ran the family business, the Vanderzee Glassworks, for all of his adult life. He is now in his sixties and has passed on the glassworks to his son, Willi. However, he retained his office at the Golden Pillar Society and now fills his days running the organization. His mind is not as sharp as it once was, and this has begun to become apparent to the rest of the organization.

Tasin Berthain: Tasin is the treasurer of the Golden Pillar Society and the leader of its inner circle. His mother, a war widow, brought the family to Freeport and found success as an importer of fine wine and spirits from the Continent. Tasin dutifully took over the business when his mother retired, but he felt trapped by his family obligations. He wanted to break free, leave the city, and find his own path. Yet he had sworn to his mother he would keep the business running and take care of his two sisters. For decades, he has played the part of respectable merchant, which led him to join the Golden Pillar Society.

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