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  1. #21
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    ° Ignore Mallus
    Quote Originally Posted by GoodKingJayIII
    Cool stuff.
    Thanks.
    I've always liked the idea of the Astral Sea as a literal sea.
    Me too. It's one my favorite parts of fantasy, the freedom to make the abstract literal and/or concrete.

    Can't wait to see more.
    OK:

    • The Cult of That-Which-Is-Not worships a Sphere of Annihilation, which is either a path to paradise or a one-way ticket off the wheel of existence entirely.

    • An abandoned temple houses an entity known only as The Dog. An enormous hound, the size of a war-horse, it's apparently immortal (some 200 years old now) and virtually unkillable (as testified by the number of now dead folk who have tried). It wanders throughout the building, never showing any particular signs of more-than-canine intelligence, and will occasionally accept gifts of food from petitioners. Those whose offering are accepted find themselves receiving a small blessing of some sort -- luck in love, recovery from illness, a sudden windfall.

      The Dog is served by a small and fanatical priesthood, who follow it about and clean up after it. They make a small living for themselves selling its droppings in the Five Fathoms Market, where buyers assume that the crap of a Dog that might be a God *has* to be worth something. If nothing else, it makes excellent fertilizer.

    • The Breakers... it's the neighborhood behind a section of the perennially-being-rebuilt Sea Wall where the enormous pieces of flotsam that are deposited by storms into the harbor are brought to be broken up by men with adamantine hammers -- each hammer is worth the cost of a 100 men's lives, and attempts to steal one are punished accordingly. Most of these pieces of 'flotsam' are huge chunks of obsidian from Avernus, the first island of Hell . They get broken down and used as morally-suspect building material, and for Rituals. Sometimes the pieces contain devil larvae/devils. Sometimes the pieces are from other islands/planes. Sometimes they're alive. Either way, the men of the Breakers *try* to put them to the hammer.

    • The Governor has appointed Magistrates, one for each district of the city, to keep the Peace and enforce the Law. Unfortunately, he hasn't defined either of those terms, and the Magistrates (each with their private army of bailiffs/cops) are largely free to follow their own whims.

    • Even more unfortunately, the Governor is a deeply paranoid fellow. Every two to four weeks, entirely at random, he draws lots and reassigns each magistrate to a different district. Ostensibly this is to reduce corruption and graft, and to make it more difficult for them to establish enough of a power-base to be a potential threat, but most folk are convinced that he's doing this just to with the populace.

    • People are adaptable, however, and have learned to exploit this. It's not uncommon for fugitives to flee from one district to another; the Magistrates' men are fiercely territorial, and will often let a runner go free just to give the give their rivals the middle finger. And of course, what's a crime in the Breakers today might be perfect legal in the Shambles...although it's entirely possible that this will change with tomorrow's sunrise.

    • The Governor himself has a large force of soldiers working for him. Minotaurs, for the most part. They need some kind of vaguely euphemistic title, although the people refer to them as the Cuckolds.

    • There is a train system of a sort; two enormous Stone Golems, working to an exacting schedule, pull a string of cars attached to a heavy chain to-and-from through the city. When Gog is pulling, Magog lets out the slack of the chain...and vice-versa. This train cuts across the districts, and has its own set of peacekeepers.


    There's more, but my collaborators are still looking over the new material...
    "You should probably put your bandit hat on now. Personally, I- I don't have one, but I modified this tube sock." - Ash, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    The Chronicle of Burne, and Some Others of Lesser Importance: Updated 05-17-2009! Current episode: Flight of the Philip.

    The Port on the Aster Sea
    Our 4e setting. It's a heartbreaking work of staggering genius!

 

  • #22

    ...

    Hmm, sounds like a more Planescaped (and therefore superior by definition) version of my Enclave setting, in which some few of the Ammander people were brought across the Unending Sea by the Magi to settle a city called Port in a realm that touches on all realms. Similar core cosmology, anyway, but expressed more subtly, and the setting more bucolic than outright magical. You might find ideas there worth stealing anyway:

    http://www.principiainfecta.com/archives/the_enclave/

    Reason
    Principia Infecta

  • #23
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    ° Ignore Mallus
    Quote Originally Posted by reason
    You might find ideas there worth stealing anyway:

    http://www.principiainfecta.com/archives/the_enclave/
    Thanks. I'll look your sight over when I have some time to devote to it. There's an impressive amount of material there. It's the kind of site I imagine myself putting up if I were a fundamentally different person .
    "You should probably put your bandit hat on now. Personally, I- I don't have one, but I modified this tube sock." - Ash, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    The Chronicle of Burne, and Some Others of Lesser Importance: Updated 05-17-2009! Current episode: Flight of the Philip.

    The Port on the Aster Sea
    Our 4e setting. It's a heartbreaking work of staggering genius!

  • #24
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    ° Ignore Mallus
    More districts:

    • Rumcastle gets its name from Lord Rum's Castle, one the port's most famous buildings, a defensive fortification built right in the middle of the city by Lord Rum, a vain and daring bootlegger who became so powerful that he challenged the Governor himself during a period that became known as Lord Rum's Rebellion. It's said that the Governor would have lost if he hadn't been able to trick the God of Temperance into returning from Beyond-the-Sea to kill Lord Rum in a duel. Adventurers still seek the Lord Rum's lost sword, the one he plunged into the god's liver before dying. The sword is now called Intemperance.

    • The Sway of Medallion is one of the nicest parts of town, almost a gated community within the confines of the port, with the houses well-kept, the residents prosperous and learned, the streets clean. Jealous neighbors speculate about precisely how high the cost of living there is and what that cost might entail. The neighborhood is named for it's most distinctive resident; Medallion, an avuncular man in his later years. That isn't his real name, of course, no one even claims to know that. He is always seen wearing an enormous jeweled medallion that everyone knows to be magical. His large estate on the hill commands an excellent view of the port. It is said his house is one of blessed and/or cursed places that contain folded pieces of the World Before.

      While people say they like Medallion, that does nothing to prevent the rumors about him; that he is really a demon/homunculus/meat-puppet/parasite. That his soul is housed in his medallion. How he was a young man only a few scant years ago and his body is being used up by the evil spirit in the jewelry he wears. For such a such a public figure, these rumors should be easy to dismiss, but as everyone knows, rumors are by far the most popular currency in the port.

    • The Stagger is home to the city's greatest concentration of thieves and ne'er do wells. It's main thoroughfare is Crook Street, which doubles back so many times the residents claim it's trying to lose itself. Which it probably is.
    "You should probably put your bandit hat on now. Personally, I- I don't have one, but I modified this tube sock." - Ash, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    The Chronicle of Burne, and Some Others of Lesser Importance: Updated 05-17-2009! Current episode: Flight of the Philip.

    The Port on the Aster Sea
    Our 4e setting. It's a heartbreaking work of staggering genius!

  • #25
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    ° Ignore Mallus
    Places:

    • The Watchtower District is named for the structure which rises from its streets, towering over the waterfront. It's a carved representation of humanoid arms, raised high and cupping an enormous eyeball which floats a few inches above the stone. The eye is in constant motion, scanning the Aster Sea, looking for someone or something. Its original purpose is long forgotten, but the luminescent quality of its gaze allows the Tower to function as a sort of lighthouse.

    • The University District is also the home not only to the university but to the port's largest library. The library houses the Cataloged Mysteries, a collection of untranslated and possibly untranslatable books from Beyond-the-Sea. The librarians have been acquiring them from the Black Ships for years.

      The librarians all carry arms, and know how to use them. They also carry water-soaked cloths with them at all times while on duty. Because there is a a group dedicated to killing the librarians, or better still, burning the library to the ground. They're called the Illiterati (also the Know-Nothings, the Know-Nothing Brigade) and they believe one of the books in the Cataloged Mysteries is the Doomsday Book. If it's successfully translated it will bring about the end of the world.

      It's possible that the Illiterati are merely ignorant of the fact that the world has already ended, or perhaps their motivations are something else entirely...

    • Residents of the port think of the Petitioner's Hall as a kind of church. They write their petitions, only the nasty ones, you see --may so-and-so lose their beauty or fall ill or suffer a fatal accident-- on scraps of paper, place them in boxes along with a great deal of money, and them hand them to the Petitioners, who ask no questions. They believe the Petitioners then voice their petitions to the powers Beyond-the-Sea.

      This is, of course, nonsense. The Petitioners are warlocks that act as fixers. They do the dirty work themselves; if it's convenient, if it looks fun, if the sums in the boxes are sufficiently large. The petitioners do petition their patrons Beyond-the-Sea, but it's never with their clients petty requests. Theirs are of a more serious bent, and they keep them to themselves.
    "You should probably put your bandit hat on now. Personally, I- I don't have one, but I modified this tube sock." - Ash, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    The Chronicle of Burne, and Some Others of Lesser Importance: Updated 05-17-2009! Current episode: Flight of the Philip.

    The Port on the Aster Sea
    Our 4e setting. It's a heartbreaking work of staggering genius!

  • #26
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    ° Ignore Mallus
    My pal Rolzup on race:

    • The Dragonborn empire was one of the two great powers of the World Before. Where the Tieflings had demons and devils to do their bidding, the Dragonborn had devices of cunning intricacy, wedded to magics of power and subtlety. It was the Dragonborn who made the automatons now called Warforged, although the secret of commanding their obedience has long since been lost. They are also responsible for the giant constructs Gog and Magog, who pull the train.

    • At times, a Dragonborn will become lost within the Interior (and thus, within himself). Most such unfortunates are never seen again, but others somehow manage to find their true selves in the wastes, and to embrace that aspect of their Self. Such individuals are known as Dragons, and the emergence of one from the Interior is a cause for both celebration and terror.

    • Few linger in the World for very long; most pass on across the Aster, to parts unknown.

    • Halflings are humans who, as they hit the age of 10 or so, stop growing and start changing into something that is not quite human. As their ears develop points, they become quicker, stronger, and much, much luckier. Most end up on the streets, rejected by their own family; Halflings, as is well known, simply cannot be trusted. Of course, it’s no surprise that so many Halflings turn to thievery in order to survive, under the circumstances....

    • Halflings are themselves infertile, but they know their own even before they change. It's not uncommon for a Halfling to kidnap a child, and take him to grow up among his own kind. The common belief is that the Halflings are actually changing human children, using some twisted ritual, but this is nonsense. Mostly. This, of course, contributes even further to the reputation that Halflings have, and is one reason that they stay on the move as much possible.

    • Common wisdom has it that trimming a Halflings ears will make him human once more; this is not in fact the case, but that hasn’t kept it from happening with appalling regularity.

    • Gnomes wear peaked caps, deep red in color, died with the blood of their many victims. They kill easily and casually, moving unseen and slitting throats on behalf of their Eladrin masters. No one with any sense trifles with a gnome, lest he take offense and murder the perpetrator. And his family.

    • The Dwarves have a holy task: They are working to carve the chambers and caverns deep below the surface into an enormous musicial instrument sounded by theunderground movement of air, one that will --when it is completed -- sound the Last Trump, finish the apocalypse, and allow the new world to be born.

    • In the meantime, Orthodox Dwarves spend their entire lives underground, venturing to the surface only when it is absolutely necessary. And even then, they keep all exposed flesh covered; only when The Job is done will they be allowed to feel the touch of sunlight once more.

    • A lot of dwarves reject this, not surprisingly. They leave their homes and family behind and venture to the surface to forge new lives for themselves. When they get older, many of them will find themselves returning to the caverns of their birth, taking up their tools, and getting to work once again. It just comes to seem like the right thing to do.

    • Gnolls begin life as hyenas, living on the fringes of the Outback. After consuming a living human...and his soul...they rapidly grow and change, developing the ability speak, to walk upright, and to use weapons. This last, they do with particular eagerness.... Packs often grow regularly, as gnolls take travelers captive and feed them, still alive, to the hyenas that travel with them.

    • The Kuo-Toa are somewhat resistant to the effects of the Aster; most of them work at the docks as stevedores, loading and unloading the ships that come to the port. They keep to themselves, and only a few designated representatives can speak or understand Common.
    Last edited by Mallus; Monday, 30th June, 2008 at 07:51 PM.
    "You should probably put your bandit hat on now. Personally, I- I don't have one, but I modified this tube sock." - Ash, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    The Chronicle of Burne, and Some Others of Lesser Importance: Updated 05-17-2009! Current episode: Flight of the Philip.

    The Port on the Aster Sea
    Our 4e setting. It's a heartbreaking work of staggering genius!

  • #27
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    ° Ignore bramadan
    Sounds awesome;
    Seems that the astral sea = physical sea will be a popular notion.
    I have the similar thing in my campaign whereby one particular sea used to be material plane off-shoot of the astral and Eladrin were the sailors and high admirals of that sea.

    It all went well for many a century until the currents of the sea started bringing in the floating monstrosities of which least were the Aboleth. Eladrin then drained the sea, at the same time draining themselves of their power and better part of their sanity.

    Campaign begins in a fairly ordinary village on the edge of a massive salt-marsh in the period in which heavy rains are beginning to fall.

  • #28
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    ° Ignore Hobo
    Still looking for names for the port? I'm always partial to Lovecraftian in-jokes in situations like this. Celaphais would be good. As would Kadath. If you want to be a little more esoteric, use a name like Mnar, or Pnakos (as in the source of the Pnakotic Manuscripts.)

    R'lyeh is too much, though.

    "I realize that I am generalizing here, but, as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care." Dave Barry

  • #29
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    ° Ignore Kid Charlemagne
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
    Still looking for names for the port? I'm always partial to Lovecraftian in-jokes in situations like this. Celaphais would be good. As would Kadath. If you want to be a little more esoteric, use a name like Mnar, or Pnakos (as in the source of the Pnakotic Manuscripts.)

    R'lyeh is too much, though.

    Yeah, it does have a kind of Dreamlands vibe to it...
    "I hurt Firewing." is not something a huge number of people can say. "He dropped a parking garage on me," on the other hand, a lot of people can say. -Kazan, my Champions GM.

  • #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Mallus View Post
    The Port: possible names: Port Saudade? Port Aubade? Port Worlorn?, Port Yesod? Port Tav?, Port Eschaton? Port Erewhon? Port Nowhere?, Port Meirion?, Penultima Thule?, the Port of Interzone?
    Maybe Finisterre? Ok, it's a bit obvious, but it has a nice ring to it.

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