Eons past, the Karu system was the home of an advanced civilization but little remains apart from a hideously radioactive former homeworld, and a new metal 'planet' further out.
The planet is the accumulated remains of the wreckage of two unimaginally large battlefleets. Through millions of years of bombardments, collisions and the impact of solar wind, the wreckage has collapsed onto itself forming a small, but very dense planet. During it's history sufficent amounts of transuranic metals collected at it's core and became a sustained nuclear reactor. The heat served to melt much of the metal that formed it, as well as creating a thick atmosphere. This atmosphere is rich in many chemicals and is dreadfully toxic.
The planet is 500km in diameter but has a gravitational force of about 1.3G. It has a thick atmosphere with usable amounts of oxygen, but has a pressure of 3 atmospheres at 'sea' level.
The remainder of the atmosphere is a devil's brew of hyrocarbons, radioactive gases, acids, and many other noxious chemicals.
Of course, this planet is considered a treasure trove of raw materials and even with its dangerous atmosphere, high radiation and powerful magnetic field, mining outposts exist. Go to Comment
Unlike the ancient dwarves, King Varamon and his visionary court magician Salidahn have discovered a different means to use the power of the Bottles.
Having uncovered an ancient tomb that had been boobytrapped by several of the devices (the traps failed, as the dragon's blood had long since lost it's potency) the King now had a small supply of the Bottles.
These bottles were harnessed into providing the motive power for a new, sail-less warship that would make King Varamon's navy the greatest in the world! The hull was thickly plated with bronze to prevent damage and fire.
The expense of operating the ship has led it to rarely put to sea, generally only in times of war. Other times it goes to sea only when a fresh supply of Dragon's Blood becomes available.
The few times it has seen battle, the effects were devestating to the enemy. Faster then any human-rowed ship, and with greater endurance, it has taken a frightful toll of enemy ships. Casualties among the ship's marines are still high, even with the signficant defences, due to the ship being used as agressively as possible.
To provide the necessary Dragon's Blood to power his new warship the King has commissioned many adventures and groups of soldiers to capture any Dragons which may be found.
10 Metalsmiths & carpenters
10 Mystical support (Enchanted weapons & power systems)
Length: 140 feet
Beam: 22 feet
Displacement: ~400 Tonnes empty
Teak Hull: 200 Tonnes
Bronze Armor: 85 Tonnes (.4 inch plate)
Dragon Bottles(4) + Propulsion System: 50 Tonnes
Remainder of tonnage made up from hull fittings, Galley (cooking), weapons & mantlets.
The Dreadnaught is capable of travelling 300 leagues on it's normal reserves of Dragon Blood. More blood can be carried, at the cost of additional cargo. Due to the weight of the proper stone storage vessels, and the dangerous nature of the substance, it is rarely overloaded.
The ship generally only carries sufficent provisions for 4 days supply and is not used more then a day's journey from land.
The Dreadnaught is built for anti-ship purposes and it's primary weapon system is a massive bronze ram built into the ships prow. It has 4 mounting points for medium-sized siege engines, with 1 Catapult and 3 Ballesta the normal deployment. Additional weapons can be mounted, but at the cost of deck space, reducing the number of archers which can be deployed.
In additional to many protective magics, including enhantments against fire, incorporeal creatures and teleportation, the ship has the following defences.
1. Bronze-cladded Teak hull, aproximately .4 inch thickness.
2. Folding mantlets which can be raised to provide additional cover to the ship's marines.
3. Illusions are used to create oars in motion to help conceal the ship's unique nature before closing to attack.
Several plot lines suggest themselves:
1. The PC's are hired by a rival nation to either discover the secrets of Varamon's Dreadnought or failing that, destroy it.
2. The PC's could easily sign on as Dragon Hunters to provide the blood.
3. The PC's could be hired on as crew of the ship, and engage in naval battle with the King's enemies or vengeful Dragons!
4. Several hundred years pass, after the Dreadnought is lost in a storm with all hands. Now, on a strange island, the PC's find an ancient bronze-hulled ship with no masts...
5. The PC's are sent to find more of the bottles, either to construct new ships, or to power some new weapons the King is planning to mount on the current one. Go to Comment
Tithinian the master smith was the first to recieve the new steel, the product of the recently founded Hilsatiri mines. The gnomes were only too happy to provide the odd new iron to make the fine Elvish Steel. He began the complex ritual that accompanied the making of the best of the elvish war-blades. His hammering of the steel followed an ancient proscribed rythym, one which if followed to perfection would lend the blade the full power and grace of the elvish people.
For hours he worked, the hammering pattern musical and unbroken, until just near the end. His mind slipped, for a moment, but no slips were allowed. His next hammer-strike was off, and instead of the harmonic ring, a dischordnant tone assaulted his ears. The blade, once shimmering with magic and harmony, became dark and ugly.
Enraged with himself, he cursed the blade, forgetting for the moment who he was, and where. Still raging, he took the spoiled blade over to the crucible and threw it in to be reforged later. It would be days before he'd be ready to work on the next blade.
Before he could do so, a second smith arrived at the shop and used the discarded steel to fashion into a fine steel breastplate.
Later on, the proud elvish warrior wearing the bright steel breastplate was struck by the spell of an enemy sorcerer, and this magical attack triggered the metal to revert to it's previous form, transfixing the elf. Go to Comment
Many in power never think through all the consequences of their actions. When the High Judges devised the Grinder, they thought they found a device horrific enough to discourage the most henious of crimes, never thinking of all it's effects...
Karv Masrharic was an unsual guard. Unlike most of his fellow guards, he did not find his duty onerous. Others drank heavily to drown out the screams.
He and the other guards were assigned to the Yunacoth, the Pit of Forlorn Hope (Literally, Pit of Dispair). This dungeon held many of the fiendish Kyeed 'Justice' devices, machines meant to render appropriate living hells to those guilty of the henious crimes. Treasoners, necromancers, murderers and rapists all met long, agonzing deaths here, or worse, ever pained and dreadful half lives.
Where Karv stood gaurd, he could hear the screams of those condemned to the Grinder, and could feel the low rumble causes by the rolling of the thousand-ton stone wheel. To him, or at least part, the screams were sweet music.
When the Grinder passed into disuse - a story that will be told, but not today, Karv found that he missed it. Go to Comment
None in Malver's way would ever make the mistake of believing this buisness is in any way legit. Outwardly, it is supposed to be selling goods salvaged from fires and other disasters, but is clearly a fensce. To maintain the facade, however, Kredal employs a handful of bully-boys who do serve as Malver's megre fire service. These men rarely put out any fires, but will enter structures to retrieve whatever valuables can be saved. Of course, only a few make it back to the original owners. It is also not unusual for fires to occur whenever things get too slow at Kredals.
The shop also sells regular goods - both stolen and occasionally legitmately sourced. Kredal also provides loans, sending his bully-boys to collect. Kredal himself lives in a villa quite some distance from Malvar's place, but does like being a big fish in a little scummy pond.
Kredal himself appears as a middle aged merchant who has endulged in too many vices, but his enemies have found that there is steel in that lardy package. And whatever faults he may have, his memory is not one of them. Go to Comment