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Thread: Letís Make a Hexcrawl Setting
Thursday, 22nd March, 2012, 05:04 PM #91
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
The map and compilation are now up to date. We've hit 38,000 words which is nearly novel length. Wow!
chutup: love the updates, especially the bit about having the three electors crammed into one body somehow, that fits the setting just perfectly.
Perhaps it is the rain that blows off the Ocean of Bitter Regrets, perhaps it is something in the soil, but where Broderick's River (01.08) rises up to meet the mountains there is a stand of great sequoias that rise far above the riverbanks.
Due to the rough terrain in the area, the trees are generally left to stand in silence except for when druids arrive to cut one to replace the didgeridoos that are too old to properly call the leviathans out of their depths.
-Who was Broderick anyway?
-Where do these druids set up their whale-calling didgeridoos? How do they get the tree trunks there? How does one play a didgeridoo made out of the trunk of a redwood tree?
Note: this post is a lightly edited version of one posted by "drek"
Newhill is so named because at the time of settlement it was, indeed, a new hill -- kicked up out of the earth from the attack that razed the Citadel of the Verlimes (18.07). Newhill overlooks that damned place and the surroundings. Residents of the freehold claim the air atop their hill is a bit sweeter, the spring waters clearer. Sadly, visitors are probably too creeped out by the scenic view of elementals marching about the old Citadel ruins to notice.
It takes a special brand of crazy or desperate to live within spitting distance of a haunted ruin. The forefathers of Newhill's current residents were indeed mostly bandits and refugees with no place else they would be welcome. Over the centuries, the peoples of Newhill have become more or less domesticated, but the freehold still has a reputation for being a haven for the rough, the tough, and the mildly insane.
The freehold itself is surrounded by a wooden pallisade, and contains ought much but the family homes of three merchant families that share dominion over the place:
"Maud" Verlime is a bent over crone, who will talk the ear off of anyone willing to listen. She is the overly proud matriarch of the Verlime Who Remained. She is mother to Regulus Verlime of the Sundail Inn (25.04), her least favorite son. She is mother to six others, grandmother to thrice as many, and lives with a pair of sisters who never married or had children. Etched into a stone laying at the center of their impressive sized home are the names of all the firstborn given up to the elves.
One of Maud's favorite stories, one that she tells over and over to anyone who's ear she can corner, is personally chasing the famed, masked raider Huu Vo Malkus off of her grazing lands some thirty odd years ago. Of course, the detail she often fails to mention is Malkus absconding with the family's herd of ostriches. In the decades since, the Verlime herd has been replenished, and currently grazes in the fields surrounding Newhill.
While the name Verlime is practically a curse word throughout most of the freeholds, in Newhill they retain some of their old role as protectors of the region.
The second powerful family are the Pignoses, who claim some orcish blood-- proudly in fact. They are a physically brutish collection of men and women, but in heart usually fairly gentle folk. Big Sal Pignose is the most accomplished of the lot. She's a successful trader, enough so that she purchased a citizen's charter from the City of Shuttered Windows (29.14). Her kids are spoiled brats and often get into brawls with the younger of the Verlime.
The third family within the palisades are the Stannev, a family of orchid-tenders and honey-harvesters who share a generational devotion to The King in Splendor, Sword that Slays the Night (see the entry above). Their temple, The Everwatching Eye, is the only stone structure in Newhill. Currently Loris Stannev serves as the her priest tending to this shrine, but as she ages (nearly 70 now), three of her nephews currently vie to become the new shrine-tender. The competition between the three isn't entirely friendly, as by tenant the The King in Splendor values open displays of strength.
The Stannev hold a long tradition of alliance with both the Verlime and Pignoses, often being the family that stands in the middle and mediates any conflict between the two clans.
Last edited by Daztur; Friday, 23rd March, 2012 at 07:44 AM.
Friday, 23rd March, 2012, 07:44 AM #92
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
The compilation and map are up to date.
The Land of Mortar
Additional Information About Hex 22.25
Note: this post is inspired by several different posts from the 2ed Monstrous Manual read-through thread. All of the text and many of the details are mine.
The reason that the ancient buildings of the Forgotten City-State are so strangely untouched by the passing of centuries is the strength of the mortar that was used to fortify the clay of its pueblos: the bodies of the elemental creatures known as sandlings. No known substance makes stronger mortar, but not even it can last forever and as the buildings begin to crumble the sandlings are being released one by one.
When the winds blow through the city, drifts of sand claw at the buildings and the tens of thousands of sandlings still trapped in its mortar wake and struggle to be free.
The old masters who collected and imprisoned the sandlings are gone now but they once gathered them from lands far to the south where they lay in a desert that had once been a city old beyond even the imaginings of elves. It was built long ago when the aboleths whose fossilized bones can be found in the Grey Mountains yet swam. It was the capital of a vast empire and its glass tower of living iridescent glass soared higher than any balloon of the Shuttered City.
For reasons that no longer matter, this ancient empire fell and the towers fell with it, lying across the desert like the spears of a vanquished army. Slowly, slowly, in the days in which the first dragons broke the world like an egg with their birth, the towers eroded away into swirling sand. But some of the sand still remembered what it had once been and some of the power of its creators yet remained, so the builders of the Forgotten City-State gathered it to reinforce the clay of their homes. Only the sandlings remember what they had once been and they lash out in rage that for every memory of the shining towers they retain, ten thousand has by robbed from them by the hand of time.
-What will the sandlings do are more of them are freed?
-Is there any way to learn of the memories of the sandlings? They are not intelligent as human reckon such things, but could they yet retain knowledge of the lost empire of the south?
The Whispering Sisters
Additional information about hex 29.14
Note: chutup mentioned this cult in his write-up about Shuttered earlier in this thread but here's more information about them that he wrote up before. I was waiting for chutup to post about them but they're interesting enough that I got a bit impatient. It has been lightly edited by me and the last paragraph is mine.
Of the many esoteric cults that inhabit the City of Shuttered Windows (29.14), the Whispering Sisterhood is one of the most feared. As the name implies, all full members of the cult are women, though men may join as subservient acolytes. The Sisters worship the goddess known only as She Who Waits, though in the highest echelons of the cult it is said that her true name is sometimes spoken. According to the heretical mythology of the Sisters, the goddess She Who Waits was once the concubine of the great god Alberon, who today is patron of the City. The Sisters claim that after Alberon slew the vile Tiamat and brought plenty to the lands of the Long Night, he was consumed by pride and cast aside his faithful consort. Soon he sought to woo another spiritual being, the Green Lady who is said to be the mother of all elves. To ensure the Green Lady's favour, Alberon caused She Who Waits to be imprisoned beneath the earth, and her image struck from the memories of men.
So it is said; but all this is blasphemy to the good people of the City of Shuttered Windows. What is known of the Whispering Sisterhood is that they act in secret, in dark alleyways and behind closed doors in the halls of power. Many of the Sisters take on the cover identity of a whore or madam, and rumor has it that men may be drugged and kidnapped in certain of the city's shady brothels. When they awaken they may find themselves in caverns beneath the city, or on lonely hilltops in the countryside nearby - unwilling sacrifices in one of the Sisterhood's foul rites.
As with many cults, night cattle also play a role in the rituals of the Whispering Sisterhood. Supposedly, they deal exclusively with Drogo the Baldfaced, (29.01) since no honest cattle-trader would knowingly sell to them. In the most holy and ecstatic ritual of the Sisterhood, the sacrifices must be a night bull (representing the upper world) and a man and woman newly wed (representing Alberon and the Green Lady). The unfortunate couple are stuffed inside the night bull's stomach, and the whole is roasted before being cast into a bottomless pit as an offering to She Who Waits. By breathing of the smoke that floats up from the pit, the hierophants of the Sisterhood are sent into a trance. For seven days and nights they convulse, all the while whispering the words of their black goddess - words of prophecy, words of doom.
Due to the failure of the Sisterhood's many enemies to root them out, some say that their sacrificial pit is located beneath the lower vaults of the local dwarven Hoard (33.00) and that its only entrance lies within the well-guarded premises of the Hoard. But if that is true, why would the dwarves risk so much to shelter such a cult?
- What brothels are actually fronts for the Sisterhood? What other places do they control?
- Who in the halls of power answers to the Sisterhood, and why?
- What's in the caverns beneath the city, and does anyone go down there?
- Where is the bottomless pit where the sacrifice takes place? Is it really under the Hoard's Vault? Why would the dwarves protect them?
- What prophecies have been handed down by She Who Waits?
- Where are Alberon and the Green Lady now? Are they a tangible presence in the setting, or merely figures of myth?
Last edited by Daztur; Friday, 23rd March, 2012 at 10:41 AM.
Friday, 23rd March, 2012, 10:20 AM #93
Salt Point (00.09)
This narrow, mostly barren strip of land juts out into the Ocean of Bitter Regrets. There is a ruined lighthouse here, but few ships now pass along the coastline here. Long ago, it is said that this lighthouse was operated by the lion priests, those same who ran the Lost Lighthouse at 46.10. However, there was a schism between the two lighthouses, and the heretics of the ocean lighthouse were wiped out by their former brethren.
The lighthouse and the old catacombs beneath it are now inhabited by a wizened old monk named Pou Roon. Formerly of the Temple Indivisible, he was a regular pilgrim to the peaceful place at Fernsbank (1.09). However, he became frustrated by the presence of other monks there from other cults. He wished greatly to strike them down for their heresy, but the general truce of the area prevented him. Several times he attempted to muster up a crusade from the Shuttered City to Fernsbank, but was met with indifference. At last he withdrew from the Temple and set up residence in the nearby lighthouse. It is he who is responsible for the evil aura that has recently come over Fernbank. His hope is to drive the other cults to make war against each other.
- Why don't ships sail the Ocean of Bitter Regrets anymore?
- What was the schism that divided the lion priests?
- What remains in the lighthouse and the catacombs of its original owners? Any treasure?
- How is Pou Roon causing the disturbed atmosphere of Fernsbank? Has he made traffick with dark powers?
On southern shore of the Keening Sea, where the desert meets the water, there is an island just out to sea, connected to the land by a stone bridge. For centuries it has been known by no other name than Drowning-Place. This island is the stronghold of the Whispering Sisters (though some argue that there are more members of that cult in the City of Shuttered Windows than anywhere else). The nunnery where they dwell is hidden by steep cliffs and tropical undergrowth. Rumour has it that it is also accessible by a secret path on the seaward side of the island.
The location's name comes from the strange properties of the stone bridge. When men (not women) pass exactly halfway across the bridge, they are suddenly struck by a suicidal mania and immediately hurl themselves into the water below. Those who survive the fall will swim to the shore, climb up to the bridge and leap off again.
Because of this, the armies of the Shuttered City have never been able to destroy the well-defended nunnery, much as they would like to. However, in recent years the Doge's wife has been attempting to organise a company of all-female soldiers to march on the Whispering Sisters.
- What strange rituals to the Sisters of Drowning-Place get up to?
- Is the bridge's power a spell cast by the Sisters, or something older?
- Will the Doge's wife succeed in her plan? What else is of interest about her?
(Note: The suicide bridge is real, though for dogs rather than humans. And it has a disappointingly mundane explanation.)
Saturday, 24th March, 2012, 06:37 PM #94
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
The Wives of the Doge
Additional Information about Hexes 29.14 and 30.03.
Note: if you haven't read the deeply ed-up Italian version of Sleeping Beauty you really should, this entry is very tangentially inspired by it.
When the twin daughters Lord Tristifer Bartley of Blackhorn Keep (30.03, one of the Keeps of the night men, see the entry for Hex 27.04 et. al.) came of age they were such beauties that all men wondered if they had elven blood. Considering the history of the second Lady Bartley, it is easy to see how people could come to such a misapprehension, but the girls were human. But such humans they were! Seline was as pale as the moon and with hair as dark as the night sky, but nevertheless it shone brighter than a thousand stars. Her sister Eliana had such skin that, even though she led the sunless life of the night men, it remained golden but not near as golden as the bright and curling wreath of her hair.
For long years Lord Bartley refused all suitors, cleverly playing the other lords of the Lands of the Night Cattle off against each other until many, his brother chief among them, feared that he sought to name one of them his heir, for he had no sons. But then, during one Long Night some years past, the great Doge of the City of Shuttered Windows itself (29.14) paid a visit to the market pits and, blind though he was and is, he was enchanted by the sisters.
The thought of his house allied to Shuttered itself brought great joy to Lord Bartley but precious little to the Doge or his daughters. How could the Doge choose either one of the beauties and how could the twins be separated by the lonely miles between Blackhorn Keep and the Shuttered City? Finally a priest of the God of the City of Shuttered Windows who traveled in the Doge's revenue arrived at a solution: by his interpretation of the laws of the Temple Invisible the sisters had but one soul and thus the Doge was free to marry both of them, which he did in the greatest festivity that Blackhorn Keep had ever seen.
At first the Great Families seethed at the presence of the twin wives and some in the Temple Invisible muttered darkly, but Eliana soon won them over with her bright smiles and ready charm. Soon the entire city was following the fashion of the feather dresses that she favored, though few could match her firebird dresses in which the feathers of the firebirds (04.05) were so freshly plucked that they yet glowed. Under even the pale sun that shines on the Shuttered City Eliana blossomed, her beauty seeming to grow greater by the day.
Celine fared differently. The face of the sun, which she had never before seen, filled her with terror and she had the windows of her apartments replaced with the solid walls of home. Yet that was not enough, for she thought that she could smell the sun on the people who surrounded here and soon took to stalking the lonely halls of the Doge's palace by night. Her only comfort was her husband and, as he often worked through the night, Celine soon became his secretary. She had a quick mind and a sharper nose for lies, which pleased the Doge. But Celine, found that the reports of assassins, cults and mad wizards that she now read nightly bred with her mad fear of the sun and produced a brood of a thousand terrors. Chief among them is her fear of the Whispering Sisters, who she is convinced are dedicated to her destruction above all else.
Thus, while it is Eliana who speaks about organizing a company of female warriors to attack to citadel of the Whispering Sisters (32.22), she does it out of love for her sister as when they meet at every dawn and every dusk Celine never fails to speak of the peril of the Sisters.
-Why would the history of the second Lady Bartley make people suspect that she has elven blood? What happened to the first Lady Bartley?
-Do the Whispering Sisters truly seek to destroy Celine?
-What other fashions has Eliana popularized?
-What is life like within the keeps of the Land of the Night Cattle?
-What other paranoid whisperings is Celine engaged in?
-Have either of the twins had children by the blind Doge?
-Was the priest's ruling that the twins share one soul true? What temple law is he basing that interpretation on?
The Waterworks of Shuttered
Yes, even MORE information about hex 29.14
Note: this entry is from "drek" and has been lightly edited and adapted by me.
It's not a far jog from the South Gate of the City proper to the shore of Keening Sea -- a massive freshwater body that serves a fishery, bread basket, water-source, and sewage outtake for the City of Shuttered Windows. The underground canals leading and out of the city have access points to allow the Priests of the Temple Invisible to bless and purify the waters, as well as allowing for crews to patrol the waterways for the relatively infrequent monster incursion.
Fish and turtles coming in from the Sea must also be blessed and purified before it can be brought into the city. The numerous warfs lining the shores are dominated by fisher-priests, who are responsible for keeping order on the docks and inspecting the catch of the day for taint. Each cluster of docks is practically it's own village, and most residents have rare reason to enter the city proper.
Dwarf-made pumps pull water from the canal up into the highest spires of the city, powered by the labors of heretics found guilty of worshiping forbidden gods (usually, the Green Lady of the elves). In practice, the heresy charges are brought against undesirables with the flimsiest of evidence, whenever a new crew of workers is needed. If a heretical prisoner should die while serving his penance, his flesh is stripped and his skeleton animated to complete his full sentence. This is one of the few examples of necromatic animation allowed by City law and temple. A sentence of a few hundred years has become not uncommon and there is speculation that the undead now outnumber living workers.
Originally, the waterworks were powered by summoned elementals, and some sections of the complicated system still have their original water-spirit dutifully pumping water upward. However, even spirits eventually fade, and since the Green Lady's divorce, summoning replacements has become not only illegal but fairly dangerous (also, the arcane art of summoning is a much more guarded secret than as it was when the waterworks were first constructed).
From the heights of tallest buildings, the water falls in several open air streams, where it is diverted by sleeves to fall into homes and public cisterns. There are few more elaborate fountains throughout the various tiers of the city as well, particularly in shrines. They tend to be fed directly by water being pumped upward. The largest of the waterfalls powers a system of waterwheels, which have a variety of purposes.
The Guild of the Waterworks, the Plumbers, dutifully maintain and expand the system. They are also responsible for the grueling task of raising the canal's ever-sinking basin. The Guild traditionally employs dwarven citizens, but there are humans and halflings on the rolls as well. Those that make it past the apprenticeship of working on pipes in the occasionally dangerous lower levels enjoy very well-paided positions in the forges and upper tiers.
Last edited by Daztur; Saturday, 24th March, 2012 at 06:45 PM.
Sunday, 25th March, 2012, 03:46 AM #95
Daztur, you've been referring to the Shuttered City's cult as the 'Temple Invisible' (i.e. unseen) but I actually named them 'Temple Indivisible' (i.e. can't be divided).
The Temple Indivisible and the Temple Invisible
Additional information about 29.14, plus new hex at 25.15
The cult of Alberon, God of the City of Shuttered Windows, is known to the public as the Temple Indivisible. This name refers to a period of schisms within Alberon's cult, when the city was torn apart by religious war. One sect was noted for their steadfast adherence to unified dogma while other groups were splitting off into yet smaller sub-heresies; unsurprisingly, this indivisible sect was the victor of the civil war and went on to become the Temple Indivisible that exists today.
The Temple Indivisible handles all the official religious services of the Shuttered City. They are involved in the election of the Doge, the protection of the city, the geasing of foreign intruders, and so on. However, it is commonly known (yet rarely spoken of) that there is another cult of Alberon active within the City's walls - and this is the Temple Invisible, secret assassin-priests of an ancient order.
During the Time of Schisms, the Temple Indivisible sought to utterly wipe out all other branches of the church. However, they were hard pressed to defeat the militant monks known as the Brothers of the Spear. Though fierce fighters and masterful assassins, the Brothers of the Spear were not strongly political, so the Temple Indivisible eventually struck a bargain with them. The Brothers became the Temple Invisible, never again to be acknowledged openly in the Shuttered City; yet they would be the dark hand of Alberon, carrying out all the missions of subterfuge and violence that the mainstream Temple could not.
Somewhere in the City of Shuttered Windows tonight, there is a guildhall where the agents of the Temple Invisible meet and discuss plans. Tonight in the City there is a secret war taking place between the Invisibles and the Whispering Sisters. Elsewhere another agent may be carrying out a different mission, destroying the City's enemies or guiding the City along a path to righteousness.
Meanwhile, in the snowy mountains (25.15) west of the Shuttered City, there is a hidden fortress at the far end of a treacherous trail. This is a school for assassins, where the next generation of Invisibles are trained and indoctrinated. At the full moon one may see them drilling in the courtyard, or climbing the sheer walls of the castle for practice. The leader of the Temple Invisible also resides here - an ancient and battle-scarred monk known only as the Unseen Hierophant. The fortress is out of the way enough that any unauthorized visitors will probably be treated as invaders.
- Since the City is sinking, are there any underground remnants of the Time of Schisms?
- Did any other cults survive the Time of Schisms, perhaps by fleeing the Shuttered City?
- What are the Invisibles doing to catch the Whispering Sisters? So far they don't seem to have done a great job of it.
- How does the Temple Invisible 'guide' the City along the correct path?
Sunday, 25th March, 2012, 10:16 AM #96
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
chutup: d'oh! I love how big swathes of this setting exist because of misconceptions and screw-ups. I have an idea for a conservative remnant of the Temple Invisible, but I want to avoid having Shuttered eat the entire setting, so here's this one first.
The Skullcrusher Orcs
Long ago the Weeper's daughter (43.08) was part of a raid that wiped out the warriors of an orcish encampment west of the Titan's Skull (33.00). In the battle's aftermath the orcish children remained and she faced down a fanatic who sought to put them to the sword and a cutthroat who sought to sell them to the dwarven mines.
After some travails, she arranged for them to be cared for in a secluded mountain valley of what is now the Winterjarl's marche (14.00). The generations of orcs, and some humans, who have lived there have now become the Skullcrusher Orcs. Although their benefactor has now disappeared, they still remember her and what she has taught them. These orcs do not attack intelligent creatures, although they will defend themselves if attacked. But even then they attempt to smash the limbs of their attackers with the hammers that they customarily carry rather than kill and do not kill children. But orcs (or at least half-orcs) they remain and those who are unable to calm to heat of their blood and commit murder are exiled forever.
Some of these orcs view their orcish ancestry as a curse and bear no children but instead adopt orphaned and abandoned orcs (and in some cases other children as well) in order to honor the memory of their people's original savior. Others among the Skullcrushers are of a more pragmatic bent, including the new chieftain a great muscular half-orc by the name of Goram, who left the previous chief in the mountains with a pair of broken kneecaps after a disagreement over who had killed the deer they were both hunting.
These orcs have no gift for farming and are mediocre hunters, but the Weeper's Daughter taught their ancestors something of woodwork and they are skillful carpenters and their furniture, although it has none of the artistry of elven work, is sturdily-made and has a certain simple elegance.
-If the Skullcrusher Orcs are pacifists (at least by orcish standards) why are they called "Skullcrusher."
-Is the old clan chief still alive? What is Goram planning next?
-Have any of the orcs adopted any interesting non-orc orphans?
-Who would pay the Skullcrusher orcs for their carpentry?
-What happened to the Weeper's daughter anyway? Who was she? See 46.10 as well for a story that might be about her.
-The orc tribes to the west of the Titan's Skull have been mentioned a few times, what are they like?
Sunday, 25th March, 2012, 01:59 PM #97
The Destroying Angel (07.06)
The plains here are patchy and dry. Only a few hardy souls live in this expanse, farming the bitter and grotesque creeper-fruits that crawl across the ground.
One landmark of note is a narrow cleft in the surface of the plain, which leads down a shaft into a series of lightless caverns. These are in fact a continuation of the caves that run from the Glass Rapids (05.05) and beneath the Dwarven Cairn at 06.06. The river is not hard to find, and indeed it may be the only orienting landmark in this dark maze.
There are no rats, rust monsters, orcs or other subterranean monstrosities in these caverns. They have all been driven out long ago. There is only one creature - if creature it be - that stalks the tunnels now: the Destroying Angel. The ill-fated Uther Molvard, last man to escape the caverns alive, describes it as being something like an enormous bat, slithering across walls or floor before rising up suddenly to smother. He saw it engulf one of his men and swallow him whole, while two others seemed transfixed by its soft keening voice. On the other hand, Molvard also claims to have encountered the monster a second time before he escaped, and this time he survived by employing a screen of fire. (This latter piece of information he will not give over without due compensation.)
Rumour has it that the glassy waters of the river become perfected in this underground environment, and eventually turn to clear diamond-like jewels of great value. None such have yet been retrieved, however.
- Why are the fruits of this land considered grotesque?
- Where is Uther Molvard now?
- What is the Destroying Angel and where did it come from?
- Does the river carry on any further under the ground?
- Is it possible to travel from these caverns up to the entrance at the Glass Rapids?
(From a post on... Blog of Holding, I think it was, about a dungeon with only one wandering monster. The idea is that it would be almost unkillable, but not impossible to escape from or avoid. On the other hand, if the players do slay the monster, they have free rein to loot the entire dungeon.)
Monday, 26th March, 2012, 03:52 AM #98
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
The Temple of Alberon
Additional information about Hex 29.14 and racial origin of troglodytes.
At the end of the Time of Schisms when the Brothers of the Spear made their bargain and joined the powers that be as the Temple Invisible nine Brothers refused to compromise and defied their Hierophant. They were among the most deadly of assassins and who had learned how not to be seen. The Hierophant smiled at them and explained to them mildly that not being seen was valuable and that they would learn its value but that there were limits that applied to such things, as they would do well to learn.
And as those words were spoken, the limbs of the nine Brothers grew long and thin and their faces twisted into hideous shapes and a powerful stench rose up from their skin. Forevermore the Brothers would have to hide their hideous faces but would never be able to pass unnoticed again.
In shame and anger the nine Brothers descended deep below the city and remain their still. They call themselves the Temple of Alberon (and confusing its name with the established Temple Indivisble has gotten more than one foreigner consigned to the Waterworks) but have few converts as any who join them share their curse. Although their smell always warns their victims, more than one man has died retching while stabbed by a Brother who he never saw.
The troglodyte Brothers of the Temple of Alberon believe that Alberon has abandoned his City (what else could explain the present condition of his one faithful Temple?) and that desperate means are required to return his attention to Shuttered. In order to do this, they seek to commit the greatest imaginable sacrilege against their own god, seeing it as the only means of focusing is divine and glorious gaze on the corrupt condition of his City.
-What sort of great sacrilege do the Brothers have in mind?
-Is there any way to break the troglodyte curse?
-What role does this small and stinky sect play in City politics?
Last edited by Daztur; Monday, 26th March, 2012 at 05:01 PM.
Monday, 26th March, 2012, 04:02 PM #99
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
The map has been brought up to date and everything up to and including post #95 in this thread has been added to the compilation but the last few posts have not. I'll add them in tomorrow.
Note: a short concluding paragraph had been added momentarily to the post about The Temple of Alberon.
The White Road
In accordance with ancient decree, the Temple Indivisible has wisely forbade that any bodies be buried within the walls of the City of Shuttered Windows (29.14). Instead the White Road that worms northwards from the North Gate of the city through mire that quickly gives way to farmland is lined with thousands of tombs. They cluster close to the road, each one covered in carvings that beg travelers to stay a while and read about the citizen entombed there so that they might not be forgotten. As all of the more visible plots were built on centuries ago, newer tombs go to greater and greater lengths to attract attention, some rising high among their fellows, some marked with a riot of color and some imbued with strange glamours.
For those too poor to afford a tomb along the White Road, the Temple Indivisible has thoughtfully provided a place for them as well. Their bones are ground down and used to pave the road itself and layer upon layer of bone grit keeps the White Road remarkably mud-free.
-Why is it "wise" to not bury bodies within the City?
-Why do the citizens of Shuttered care about having people stop at and read the carvings on their tombs?
-Any interesting undead about?
The Embassies of the Southern Gate of Shuttered
Additional information about Hex 29.14 (at this point it might be easier to make a separate hex map for Shuttered...)
This post comes from "drek" it has been lightly edited and adapted like the rest.
The southern wall of the City of Shuttered Windows is host to the Twelve Embassies of the great nations. The embassies open outward from the city -- they built up against the southern side of the southern wall. The ambassadors of each embassy are required to enter through the South Gate and provide for their own protection.
The City of Shuttered Windows is considered the last bastion of civilization, a threshold opening unto the so-called Shrouded Lands north of Keening Sea. Compared to the Twelve Nations, the lands from Shuttered to the Grey Mountains and beyond are savage and unruly.
Shuttered is also the largest and most important city that falls under the ruler-ship of none of the great nations. Yet, each of the Twelve have something of a interested in the City, and it's delicate politics playing one off of the other to maintain Shuttered's independence.
Three of the embassies are empty and bricked up, two because the associated nations have fallen to barbarism. Alacoda, Empire of High Elves, remains extant but distinctly unwelcome, as the Alacodi are the favored peoples of the Green Lady. It's a common game for Alacodi spies to try to infiltrate the City, and an even more common game to accuse political enemies within the City of having dealings with Alacoda.
The liveliest and most visited embassy by far is that of Grumluda, Domain of the Eternal-King-All-Orcs. The fighting schools (and gambling parlors) that have grown around that embassy are popular with travelers and citizens of the city alike. Ambassadors from Grumluda tend to be half-human, and given special dispensation to enter the city without taking on a geas. The Grumluda orcs are great patrons of the Wedding Band (30.15) and pay well for odd creatures to spice up the blood sport, and the Gumludi are always happy to purchase creatures brought in from beyond World's Edge -- the most exotic of which are exported back to the Orc lands after being bloodied in the Band.
Note: the Twelve Nations are off the edge of the map to the south.
Last edited by Daztur; Monday, 26th March, 2012 at 05:02 PM.
Tuesday, 27th March, 2012, 10:56 AM #100
Oh! Oh! I want to repost my thing about the embassies too!
The Sealed Embassy of Naros
Additional information about Hex 29.14
Some fifteen years ago, the small but prosperous nation of Naros was placed under a devastating curse by the arch-lich Supendar. It was his last act of spite before falling beneath the blades of party of brave adventurers. The people of Naros vanished instantly, their animals were transformed into terrible beasts, and their lands became shrouded in perpetual twilight.
Since the embassy of Naros outside the Shuttered City was also technically part of Naros, the curse took effect within its walls as well. The ambassadors disappeared, the rooms took on a grey pallor, and the housecats, rats and livestock in the adjoining stable were turned into monsters. However, since the monsters showed a reluctance to leave the borders of the embassy, the Doge's response was to have the entire building bricked up and ignored.
Today, the embassy remains dormant and forbidden. On dark nights, one can sometimes hear from within the hissing of the razor cats, the chittering of the plague mice, and the unearthly lowing of the vampire cattle. The other effects of the curse are relatively undocumented, but it is well-known that any region of Naros is an unhealthy place to be in. However, some adventurers have speculated about raiding the place. Rumour has it that just before the curse came down, the Narosi ambassadors had taken out a huge loan from the Hoard in order to finance the ongoing war against the lich Supendar (which at the time they thought would go on for much longer.) If this is true, then there is a serious amount of wealth to be found inside the accursed walls. However, two things have deterred prospective spelunkers so far: breaking into the embassy would violate the Doge's decree; and if the gold were extracted, there is no guarantee that the Hoard might not begin demanding repayments from the gold's new owner.
There is one other reason to break into the embassy. Recently in the central district of the Shuttered City, a priest of an obscure cult has come forth, claiming that he will pay good money for sacrificial cattle afflicted with vampirism...
- What happened to these adventurers who slew Supendar? Are they still around?
- What became of the people of Naros? Did they simply die, or was their fate more subtle?
- Who on earth would want vampire cows for their sacred rituals? I mean, that's just silly, right?
The Fanged Cliffs (27.18)
Here, at the edge of the Keening Sea, there is a narrow inlet where the water flows between two great red spires of stone. Some travellers believe that these spires are the fangs that give the location its name - they believe so to their great peril. In fact, the name comes from the thousands of winged vipers that nest in the cliffs of the inlet. Venomous, aggressive and mobile, it lucky that the flying vipers rarely choose to leave their forsaken abode. Only once a year do they travel, as part of their mating migration. They fly east toward the Gardens of the Sea (29.15), where they descend upon the crops of the Shuttered City. During this time, the farmers retreat behind the city walls and pray for intervention.
The snakes mate in midair, whereafter the female tears off the male's head at the moment of climax. At the same time, the air fills with ibis from the malodorous mangrove swamps. The ibis devour the snakes live if they can, and later feast on the dead males after the female snakes have flown home. Ironically, the ibis are considered the worse pest because their excrement pollutes the Gardens with acid and damages the health of the crops. Meanwhile, the viper mothers return to the Fanged Cliffs, where they give birth and die - for the viper children burrow out of the mother's womb and eat her flesh as their first meal. Thereafter, there is a one-month period when the vipers are too young to fly and the mysteries of the inlet can be explored.
Generally speaking, the farmers pray to Alberon for deliverance during the viper storm. However, rumour has it that some farmers have begun to view the ibis flocks as their saviours, and consequently have devoted their offerings to a new, ibis-headed god.
- What are the mysteries of the inlet?
- Where are the malodorous mangrove swamps and what's in them?
- Who is the ibis-headed god?
Astonishingly, this is not one of my crazy ideas or even a work of fiction at all; the flying vipers (including their bizarre life cycle) come from the writings of Herodotus, which he presented as fact. This is the first I've read of him but now I really want to look into him some more.
Btw, it's a minor point, but I would do an abstract/out-of-scale map for the City of Shuttered Windows rather than a strict hexmap. In Vornheim there's some good stuff about how in city adventures (as opposed to dungeon adventures), the characters' spatial position is not as important as their social position and the information they have.
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