“So, my sisters.” I gazed out the clerestory window at the tableau in Court Square, and I made no doubt my gaze was as stony as were the rest of the Conclave. “I see what you see. Is there truly no doubt?”
“None,” said Mother Arathena, with a bitter hiss. “That jackal bitch has the true Sword. Captain Noran saw her hack through half the enemy cohort to reach the postern gate, and I know Noran to be a reliable man.” She swallowed hard, tearing her gaze away from the spectacle outside. “But – but how? How was It found, after so long?”
“Lady’s Grace, who cares? Dueled with dragons or bought it from a peddler, what boots it? The question is this: what do we do?” Arathena's mouth was set, at my query; she didn’t know. Neither did the others.
Neither did I.
Someone complained that orcs, in the campaigns he knew, were just cannon fodder -- there was nothing horrible, or terrifying, about them. This was the answer I gave. It proved a controversial one, and some may think it takes a stronger stomach to contemplate than they appreciate. This is your content warning: if you're easily revolted, I won't mind if you give this one a miss.
I had someone ask me, recently, why I not only allowed such characters in my campaign, but didn't seem to care that anyone wanted to do so. Parts of my response seemed worth sharing.
Just in case, and because some others have put these up.
“All matter is made of six elements. The seventh element, work, fulfills the potential of the other six” – Liang Huou, Grandmaster
"Absent gods, here's another bunch of them," Chav drawled, irritation in her voice.
"I hear them," I grunted, shifting my back against the tree to find a more comfortable angle. Well, I'd heard the horses' clopping, any how. I opened a single eye, and sure enough, Chav was right. Four of them this time, green as grass. You wonder if they really thought wearing brown homespun tunics and trousers were going to fool anyone into thinking they were Just Folks ... while riding Sadasian stallions and those gorgeous tooled Mithlantri saddles.
Unfortunately, they also heard us. The chickling at their head spurred over to us, and raised her arm in salute to me. "Captain? My name is Amberstar. We heard in Redwave that one of the orc columns were headed this way." She grinned at me with her cheeks puffed out like a bleeding squirrel. "We want to help!"
Joy and rapture unbounded.
Cheka Man's original 30 Generals led me to thinking, and so I've a few more for the till ...
“Something weird heah! Get yer weird things!” I raised an eyebrow. Street vendors rolled by the Woflo Inn about five hundred blighted times a day, screeching like strangled gulls. I got sick of the racket by the second day, but it was midsummer, and closing the shutters would’ve choked us with the heat. Blight take this human city anyway, I'd take the Altanian jungles if I had a choice. At least there are no street vendors there.
Chav was on her feet and grabbing for her belt pouch like a shot. “Where are YOU going?” I drawled.
“You GOTTA come see this, Eve! This guy is great!” And with that, she was right out the door and pelting down the stairs.
“Something weird heah! Get yer weird things riiiight heah!”
A quiet island, with a small fishing village, a decent dock, a sheltered lagoon, friendly natives ... and a chilling curse.
The cramped and tightly knit Palestra -- the University district of the City -- is a law unto itself. It is dominated by the great University, and by the thousands of students, scholars and hangers-on attached to the school. The University has no dormitories, and many of the buildings and businesses in the district have upper stories crammed with any who do not commute from other areas of the City.
Here are five locations which can add some spice to your city's university district.
This slum reveals the darker face of the City. Shanteytown is exposed to the elements and unprotected by wall or guard. A seedy mixture of driftwood shacks, impromptu shelters, lean-tos and camps thrown up on old ruins, and filled with the underclass and those with nowhere else to go, Shanteytown is for many the end of the line.
A weapon of war created by an extinct race, this rat appears normal but is a simulacrum - beneath it’s mangy fur is a body of bronze. Commanded by words in a lost language, wherever it goes a virulent and lethal plague follows. The cure is similarly obscure.