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Proposal: Sumbru, City of Shades and Shadow


First Post
The reason for proposing Sumbru is that I'm working on an adventure idea and this city would be the setting. I thought it needed a proposal beyond just the normal adventure proposal process. Also, (and this is not my intent) Sumbru could be a good means of introducing Fetchlings into LPF, should we decide to do so.

[size=+2]Sumbru[/size] is a walled city in the center of the Landadel Baronies cloaked in perpetual shadow. Thick black clouds hang heavily over the city blocking out the sun and casting the city into a somber, spirit-dampening gloom that has lasted for decades.

In its past Sumbru was a vibrant city filled with riches and light and beautifully ornate architecture where merchants and scholars gathered. The key to the city’s greatness and its downfall was its gate. Their gate, which they called the Gate of Gates, led to a land rich in resources and wealth for the taking. A rival, the King of Acomay, wanted to possess the gate that opened to so much richness and so set out to conquer Sumbru.

War raged for years, advantage passing back and forth between the citizens of Sumbru and the Knights of Acomay. In the end Sumbru could not hold and the rulers of the city decided to destroy the gate rather than let it fall to their enemies. A spell of unmaking was crafted and released upon the gate. The effects far outstripped the expected, unmaking the gate and releasing a storm of destruction that devastated sections of the city, scattered the beseigers and frayed the fabric of the prime at the former site of the gate leaving the city exposed to the influence of some dark plane.

Monsters rose up in the city, seeping through to the Prime from that other realm, and the spirits of the dead were cursed to repeatedly walk the paths they walked in the moments preceeding their death. To protect themselves the remaining citizens sealed the center of the city behind tall walls and tried to carry on.

Now, 50 years since the unmaking of the gate, the citizens of Sumbru have managed to obtain some semblance of normalcy though not one that would be recognizable as such elsewhere in the Baronies.

The destroyed center of the city, poetically described as the ‘pulsating black heart of Sumbru’ by the bards of the Dream Theatre, is walled off to contain the haunts and the dark creatures that have passed through the frayed fabric of the prime. Buildings around the wall have been razed and guards patrol to keep citizens from entering the central district and awakening some dark creature that might threaten the rest of the city.

The rest of the rubble-strewn city is underpopulated holding approximately half the number of people that walked the streets during Sumbru’s glory days. Every district of the city suffered extensive damage during the war and the unmaking and many buildings have been plundered of their stone to rebuild other buildings and the structures have an oddly ornate yet piecemeal quality to them.

Positioned on the eastern trade route, Sumbru’s fall cast the Landadel Baronies into disarray and propelled Venza to the forefront of mercantile power. The Kingdom of Acomay, the best of her knights slain during the unmaking, weakened and fell to the grasping of other nearby kingdoms. The eastern trade route is broken and merchants are taking other routes to avoid the City of Shades.

Within the city itself, a new power has arisen and taken control and holds the city firmly within its laws. The Inquisitors of the Night rule from their temple stronghold dedicated to Our Lord of Perpetual Night.

Our Lord of Perpetual Night (Stranger) – This could be a new god of night or, my preference and, imo, more interestingly the frayed portion of the city could lead to the orcish god Arakan’s realm giving that god influence on the surface.
-Organization: Inquisitors of the Night (LE)

Lady of Sorrows (Consort) – ancestors, protection
-Organization: Oracles of the Lady

==City Detail==
Small city (though room for a much larger population)
Theocracy, ruled by the Inquisitors
Alignment: LE
Predominantly human, though with some half-orcs & (possibly) fetchlings

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Satin Knights

First Post
Yes. And waylangs. Don't forget them. They perfectly fit. Yes to Arakan. You cannot conquer if you cannot get a foothold in new territory. This is a strong foothold.

Food for thought: Inside the "pulsing black heart", it seems possible for the GM to experiment with spell blights from the UM.

Can I cast my "dibs" now for that adventure? :D


First Post
And waylangs. Don't forget them. They perfectly fit.
This was my first, admittedly self-centered, thought. :p

I love it. Very flavorful. The politics bit in relation to Venza is nice.

I do have a question though: Why would the citizens who have stayed in the city stay? It'd take a lot to get me to stay around in a city whose center is monster-inhabited. I imagine that is at least a partly individual thing, that may/will get fleshed out in time, but I'd be curious to see a broad explanation.

I also wasn't sure about placing this in the Landadel Baronies - its magical nature just seems a bit unusual for that locale to me. On the flip side, that means it's adding something new to the area. And it's conveniently close to Venza. And you addressed that issue a bit with the Politics section. So I think it's fine, but I'd still be curious to hear why you placed it in the Baronies.

I wouldn't mind getting in on this adventure either. ;)


First Post
Would this be an appropriate locale to possibly introduce Drow, Duergar, and other similar races? Or should that take place in a more traditional underground empire?


First Post
First, thanks for the compliments. I have to say that the idea is more a mash-up of ideas taken from other sources (Ravenloft, Council of Thieves, Carrion Crown) where I've used bits I liked and tried to put an LPF spin on it.

I like the idea of Wayangs and would gladly include them in Sumbru.

Why stay in a city devastated by shadows? Some people would have nowhere else to go. Some would remain to search for missing loved ones. For some, the familiar (even when terrible) is preferable to the unknown. And while the initial damage to the city would have been bad, the dark clouds would have taken time to form. Haunts would have formed pretty much immediately, I think, but it would have taken some time for the people to realize that darker more dangerous things were slipping into the prime material and influencing them but not for the better. That's about all I can think of at the moment. EDIT: Now it might be difficult to travel as the Inquisitors try to control the populace.

Why the Baronies? I was thinking about that and I came to realize that the evil (that I knew about) in the Baronies comes from wilderness sources: Tenebrous Woods, swamps south of Venza, Still Waters of the Ouhm Delta on the Baronies' eastern border. Detailed (or even just named) settlements/nations are good or neutral at worst and I thought a close bad place might be interesting. Our 'big evil' locations: Rhat'matanis, the Harran Forest, Heth, those places, imo, are just too distant to have a lot of impact on adventurers (although I don't expect Sumbru to have a major impact either, really). The larger nations like Rorn or Rhat'matanis would probably have mobilized to prevent/clean up the destruction if it were within their borders and the history would have to change somewhat; placing the city in a remote area would work probably but didn't appeal to me. So, the Baronies because it is close, there's room for it, and the fractured nature of the region means the threat isn't easily neutralized. And because of the limited nature of the cloud-cover the movers and shakers among the dark powers aren't going to push to expand much.

As for its magical nature, I always imagined Ilumistae (the high culture, elven city) to be kinda built between the prime, the Twilight Realm and the Other World. Maybe Sumbru is too similar to that idea or maybe Ilumistae isn't built that way. Regardless, with fallen sky-castles and temples of glass and magical elven cities the Baronies never struck me as particularly mundane. But then, my perception is only one among a hundred or so.

vmaaxt, I suppose Drow & Duergar are possible but, to me, less is more. Predominantly human, with sizeable percentages of fetchling and wayang and a handful of other common race individuals would be my preference. Personally, I'd like to see something less 'traditional' than an underdark or darklands but that's a different topic entirely.
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First Post
Sounds good, GE. Thanks for your thoughtful responses. I was just curious to hear your thoughts. YES for me.


First Post
Very cool. I like the flavor, and I think there are some very cool adventures that can come out of, or into this place.

BTW, I wasn't pushing for Drow/Duergar/Etc, just wondering if they were even on the menu. I think this place is made even more flavorful by not being another underdark.


First Post
You've already got your four, but I'll throw in my YES just for overkill's sake. :)

I had the same initial cognitive dissonance as Qik, I think, in that the Baronies hadn't thus far struck me as somewhere folks ran into magical counties, but your explanation works well, and the fact that this only happened about 50 years ago for some reason makes this work better for me. It's not been here all along, but rather just recently cropped up, disrupting the normal workings of the Baronies. Or, rather, it's been slowly creeping its way into its present disruptive form, if I'm reading things correctly. The insidious nature of that makes it work for me.


First Post
I like everything about it, except I'm not sure that 50 years is enough time to get a religion up and functioning. On the other hand, they do have access to divine magic and guidance, which might tend to streamline things a bit. Comparitively speaking, Scientologists have been around for 60 years, but the religion you're describing is almost Medieval Catholic, as I read it.

Hrm ... how about a 'Pope of Darkness,' so there's a charismatic, centralized authority that would tend to drive a strongly organized religion, but it's all balanced against the city being too unstable for even the Inquisitors to have full control (although I imagine they like to claim full control...).


People stay either for money, power, fear or protection. There's seems to be little trade so I doubt money would be a main reason. Power on the other hand...

Fear... that would be tricky. The followers of Our Lord of Perpetual Night might as well have a good reason to stay. Systole, I was about to mention Scientology too lol. It wouldn't be that far-fetched from my point of view. The SC is very LE and "Inquisition" like. Just look at the Sea Org and the Sec-Checks they even made the kids go through.

"Claim" full control sounds about right to me.


First Post
I'm open to other ideas and edits. I'm ok with changing details to make it work better.

Hrm ... how about a 'Pope of Darkness,' so there's a charismatic, centralized authority that would tend to drive a strongly organized religion, but it's all balanced against the city being too unstable for even the Inquisitors to have full control (although I imagine they like to claim full control...).
Pretty much as I imagined but with the Inquisitors as highly organized and totally ruthless, much like brown shirts. And ruled by the Prime Sclav of Darkness (or whatever title we can come up with):


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