Look, sometimes people just want to get away from it all. If anyone's at fault, it's the society that drives people to desperation. We give them respite from that. -Unknown member of the Deep Runners
Based out of Fort Fair Maiden, the Deep Runners are a network of alchemists, deliverers, and musclemen aiming to corner the market on the drug trade. Most of the refugees in Fort Fair Maiden are not, to put it bluntly, especially rich individual. While some have seen success starting lives as adventurers, most barely have a few coins to rub together and are desperate for anything that grants a little peace and stability.
Though the Deep Runners are happy to gather money whenever and wherever possible, they're also willing to accept other forms of payment from people who simply don't have the coin for their wares. Physical labor (of all kinds), political access, information, and numerous other payments are accepted by the alchemist drug lords running this criminal operation.
Areas of Focus
The Deep Runners have spread throughout Fort Fair Maiden, albeit quite clandestinely. Few outside of the organization and its base of customers even know they exist, especially because they may watch potential customers for days before approaching them with an offer that's near-guaranteed to be too good to refuse.
However, they spend most of their time in the slum areas furthest away from the Fair Maiden's Cathedral, whose penchant for charitable healing and anti-drug activities make getting too close a risky move. The Deep Runners are much more interested in getting a noticeably larger chunk of the city's refugees under their thumbs before expanding outwards.
Temptation Starts With A Single Sip
The Deep Runners often start with deliveries of Kahvi, a stimulating beverage known to restore one's focus. Kahvi is a legal substance, so most who try it are comfortable with the idea of doing so. However, regular and excessive consumption of Kahvi can lead to withdrawal symptoms if the users stop, including fatigue, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. The Deep Runners often get people hooked, then deliberately cut off the supply for a few days to make people desperate for their morning drinks. Rather than handing Kahvi back over, though, they start peddling more potent drugs instead.
The Deep Runners consist of about twenty alchemists who brew Kahvi and other drugs, forty runners, and another thirty or so musclemen who accompany the runners to collect payments and ensure there are no problems. They are highly aggressive towards competitors, though they often disguise their attacks as bar fights and other run-of-the-mill problems to limit the chance anyone realizes they're actually trying to eliminate their competitors.
Most members of the Deep Runners are levels 1-6, with the majority being Fighters (with the Brawler archetype) and Rogues (with the Thug archetype). The leaders usually have a few levels in Alchemist. Though mostly not especially powerful themselves, the Deep Runners may use their money to hire additional help for particularly dangerous or important situations.
The Deep Runners don't have a single base. Instead, the alchemists regularly visit each other's workshops under the guise of bartering for supplies, leading to a somewhat decentralized organization that can keep going even if a few of its notable members are taken down. Funds are likewise spread throughout their network, keeping everyone happy and fed while they work to expand their reach.