"They said it would bring us a new age of wonder, of exploration, of excitement. I don't think this is what they meant: us scurrying around like rats in our cities of steam and steel, far away from the land and the sun."
An industrious colony of Gnomes have managed to turn a hostile environment into a bread basket.
The People of the pocket realm of Brocschtal are simple folk who live as they have for thousands of years. Farming the land, raising sheep, getting in the occasional brawl. And fighting off the infernal attacks of ghouls.
They should have spoken up sooner and saved poor Harold from certain embarrassment.
The world was ripped apart in a great cataclysm 3,000 years ago. This is a Codex of the pocket realms created by that great sundering.
Three cities that come and go, yet never see the shining sun.
The Imperial city has been sucked into hell and the rest of the world has been ripped apart. And tying it all together is the Crystal Tower. The Tower lives in all realms, a needle piercing the fabric of each reality and threading them all together.
These rare, fist-sized spiders do not make webs, but rather excrete secretions which harden upon contact with air. These "droppings" resemble barley-sized spider eggs, or even lustrous pearls, once the slime coating them, dries up. In fact, dried Pearl Spider "drops" are indistinguishable from the marine varieties produced by mollusks, and hence of identical value on the open market!
Several centuries ago, they were studied by naturalists, and several observations were made. Firstly, was that these spiders "lay" these pearls for no apparent or discernible "natural" reason, and secondly, the naturalists had discovered that the more these spiders ate or were fed--and they were true omnivores--the larger the spider pearls came out.
A cottage industry began. Enterprising merchants hunted and collected these creatures across the lands, erecting spider-farms for the manufacture of Spider Pearls. It wasn't long before someone got the idea to force-feed the spiders, ala foie gras geese, and soon, the fattened spiders began pooping out pearls of great size! (relatively speaking). The regular pearl market came to disarray, and prices and value fluctuated wildly.
[b]Plothook[/b] The Mermen Mercantile Alliance hires the party to eradicate all terrestrial Pearl Spider Farms!