Suddenly an east wind blew, and far above the clouds rolled and folded. Where there were once whisps of white there was now a long cloud formed in the shape of a recurved bow. Malakh bowed her head in humility. "That which you have asked is granted you, O Warrior."
...Vaakri reached and stretched, grasping at the sky. At first he seized nothing, but his heart was filled with the Empyrean Emir's winds and light, and finally he grasped the bow from the far sky and drew it to the earth.
- The legend of Vaakri
A bloodthirsty band of brutal barbarian brigands, baneful and bleak in bearing. Beware!
Priest of a death goddess
Maxilan Carth, the Hunter of the Bayous, was the bane of the gatorfolk in life. To those who follow Jampiri, he provides protection from those beasts from beyond the grave.
"Dat woman... She was terrible to behold. Terrible but beautiful. She sat on a great throne, surrounded by her gatorfolk servants. She stood and she looked mighty angry. She look down at me an' Tergryn an' de rest, and she yell in some strange tongue - de elf-folk, I tink. She had a fury in her soul, an' I could feel her evil eye on me. Doric - hui, poor Doric! - she had 'er gatorfolk slash his belly wit' his claws and tore out his entrails. De gobbled dem up... Poor Doric..."
- Jorif Grisold, survivor
She is the high priestess of Jampiri, the outcast of the Kanaar, the guardian of the gatorfolk. Swynmoor's resident witch is powerful and knowledgeable, keeping the natural balance in the swamps.
A series of singers and strummers, summarily simple and sinuous, subsisting with singularly spectacular song-stylings.
I've sat on this one for long enough. Feel free to fill in the gaps.
"De Kanaar folk tink all dere gods and medicines are secret. But I live in dese marshes long enough to hear dere gods, whether pointy-ear folk like it or not. I can hear dere comin's and goin's, an' I can make dem see you or skip you as you like."
- Tonis, hillaq of Rakart Village
"As he said this he blessed them with his amulet that held the Firestone, which is called also Seenu's Eye. Immediately the priestesses began to praise Tinay, and the people were greatly amazed."
- The Gospel of Dorcas, 7:20-21
Felim collapsed into the snow, exhausted. It felt like it would be the last fall this time, his limbs stiffening and flesh numb. The adventurer had heard of natives that thrived out here, men who slew bears and made coats of seal fur. But who could build anything out here...?
Just as he felt light start to fade, Felim cast his gaze up to see the sky one last time. He was startled - or would have been, if his body had the energy - to see a furred hood and a leathery face with a toothless grin. "Ho there, brother!" it spoke. "You came to just the right place."
"Bristlebane ale. Tall."
Mathus looked up. He didn't recognize the man ordering, but he seemed the type: muscles beneath a layer of fat, a snarling expression with most of his teeth missing, fists like summer hams. "You want it in a bottle?"
"From the tap."
Mathus nodded. "This way," he said, stepping from behind the bar and into the back room, the "customer" following.
A fresh-faced young man sitting at the bar looked around, confused. "Bristlebane? Sounds adventurous."
"You couldn't handle it, son," an older man said from across the plank bar with a hint of derision. "It'd right kick your ass."
One of the Cosmic Era's most populous and vibrant cities, Novo São Paulo also has one of the widest economic gaps with an underside illustrating its crushing poverty.
"We came expecting a broken moon or wayward asteroids, but this... I don't think anyone's seen anything of its like. There's an astounding amount of material here. We're looking in the records, trying to match some of the artifacts, but there's nothing like it. I don't know what most of this does, but my God is it complex. We're looking at, at least, what, two decades of potential salvage, maybe more, then the cartography of the local moon for more. We're definitely here to stay."
- Phaeton Venator, recovered personal log
"O Divine Broker, merchant of souls, bless our transaction, make it holy and righteous in Your sight. May those that profit from it be ever prosperous, and earn our reward in Your Sacred Market. Release us from our debts, and grant us lucrative exchange now and forever."
- Prayer before a trade, from Bashad the Spectacular's "The Handbook of Divine Wealth"
Any number of clergymen might be accused of putting their demands for secular wealth over their spiritual needs. Even these, however, would never claim to worship their prosperity. Yet such is the case with the followers of the Way of Divine Wealth, a religion of uncertain history and unabashed cupidity.
"Ve'laan rust!" - Sailor slang, meaning "nonsense"
A metal with unique properties, ve'laan is prized by seafaring folk and admired by jewelers.
"Anyone can draw a map, boy - there's no more difficulty in that than laying brick. What makes maps useful is when they are so proper, so precise, that they are living images of the places they represent. Encompassing knowledge of the geography, and mastery of the very space itself - that, child, is cartogramancy."
- Sage Pakpao Sasithorn, Chief Lecturer, the Ezagun-Darkbolt College of Cartogramancy
"You shall find my body beneath the steep cliff, where the larch grove grows. Take my skull, and hang it from the old larch tree. And then you shall make of me an instrument: my skull for the box, the tree for the neck, my tail for the strings and bow. Whenever you play it, I shall be with you, for At-Beyi is inseparable."
- The Legend of At-Beyi
"From his strange raft, the bizarre man stood, shell armor glistening in the sun. Bringing his stingray-barbed spear aloft, he howled: 'Be wary, trespasser! This reef is under my guard, and I her patronage! Bring not your boats near my shoal, lest you suffer the wrath of the Reef Knights!'"
- The logs Cpt. Creos Althea, Boshail Coast, 6 Ventôse 986.
"Is it just me, or is this cave moving?"
- Obin the Spelunker’s last words
"Their so-called god, it is claimed, loves, and thus love is their virtue. Foolishness! Love is only fear of loss, and fear is among the keenest of weapons in our arsenal. Let us turn their virtue onto itself, and draw more souls into the Devouring Maw."
- The Paragon, address to his Overlords, in the second year of the Sectarian Wars
The characters are given the task of transporting a flask of highly volatile liquid a long distance. The flask cannot be shaken too much or it will explode. The adventure involves stormy sea-voyages, bumpy cart rides through densely populated towns and horseback combat. In short there are many opportunities for it to break and explode.