Who are the House of Virtue? Today we’ll find out!
This Friday sees the release of the new House of Virtue boxed set. Inside you’ll find five incredible miniatures for games of Carnevale. But who are they and what do they do in Venice?
The House of Virtue work for the Guild, a shadowy organisation set up during Venice’s downturn at the start of the 1700s. With their fleet in disrepair and people flocking out of the dying city, commerce certainly wasn’t on the up!
With this destitution several families got together and decided to start a society to protect their friends and families. Soon word spread underground and the Guild ended up responsible for more people throughout Venice than they ever thought possible. Considering the roots of the organisation, it’s no surprise that their new members had to pay – or else. While originally shipbuilders and fishermen, the Guild was mainly staffed by thieves and cutthroats, out to make a quick buck from those less fortunate.
The King of Thieves is in charge of the Guild, and is responsible for keeping their organisation a secret. Secrets are sort of their whole thing, as a well placed secret can be more powerful than the sharpest sword or a whole regiment of City Guard.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Evening
Without beating around the bush too much, the House of Virtue is mainly staffed by harlots. To be coy, they provide services to men and women throughout the city in exchange for money. *cough cough*
When engaged in their business, their clients tend to talk, and the harlots gain the knowledge and secrets from people across the city. Rich and poor alike visit these men and women, and under the umbrella of the House of Virtue, they know the ins and outs *ahem* of almost everyone across Venice.
The brothels are lead by Madames, singularly focused women who will care for their workers and clients in equal measure, learning the dirty little secrets of everyone within a small block. The Madames will talk to each other and through a string of back and forth, the knowledge is passed up the chain and sold to the King of Thieves. The House of Virtue’s tithe is paid almost entirely in secrets and whispers.
Assassins Beyond Measure
It’s not just secrets that the House of Virtue deals in though, it’s also blood.
People visiting them are often at their most vulnerable, their guards lowered and weapons put down. It’s at this point that the most seasoned harlots will strike. Armed with the sharpest stilettos, they will slash at exposed areas of their clients and dispose of the bodies with the same discretion as they usually inhabit.
The House of Virtue pursues its own deadly goals, but are also instructed by the Guild of their own targets. In this way the harlots of the House of Virtue are able to strike through to victims usually unassailable via more traditional means. A blade in the dark is often superior to a grand rooftop skirmish.
The life of a harlot is not without its peril. Men and women in their profession are frequently on the streets, and that means opening themselves up to all the dangers of a post-Rent Venice. With creatures stalking the canals, murderers (different murderers) on the streets and even more bizarre experiments roaming around, there’s a lot to be scared of!
But even more than that, their line of work isn’t strictly legal in the true sense of the word, and that means that the City Guard can come down on them with a moment’s notice. Although concealed weapons are a good fight against attackers, often the House of Virtue dispatches protection for the boys and girls on the street. Brutish Escorts provide a lot of muscle, protecting the smaller members of the House, while Dancers can entertain would-be attackers or blend in with the crowd and communicate secret messages to their kin. Through the specific dance they’re performing to the percussive beats of castanets or even through coded songs, secret messages can be passed down street and canal to exactly who needs to hear it.
In a way the House of Virtue is the perfect group for Venice – what they seem to be on the surface hides the true nature of secrecy, deceit and murder underneath. From the tricky Harlots to the protective Escorts or the fiercely loyal Madames, they give as good as they get!
The House of Virtue boxed set will be available to pre-order this Friday, and of course, all the new rules will be available on www.carnevalegame.com at the same time.