The air is chilled and causes goosebumps, while not a sound stirs across the glass smooth surface of the water. The Inn rises three stories above the bank of the river, a single lantern lit on the quay.
An island of stone above the valley, the Manor Home D’Marsarac sits upon a green promotory above the farming valley below. From this island in the sky (an illusion created by the thick morning fog) various noble families have administered to this fertile valley for centuries.
In the great town plaza the magnificent edifice of the Basilica of Kestidel has stood for many generations. This elaborate gothic structure is the hub of power of the clergy. It has been a bastion of faith for the surrounding lands. Not only have the spiritual affairs of the populace been governed here but also it is a centre of the community that has proved resolute in time of crisis, whether through war, pestilence or famine. In the myriad of crypts beneath its sanctified grounds lie interred many thousands of bones of the dead, as these crypts are the place of burial for the worshipers.
The Ellis of Kestidel is the main building to register as a citizen of Kestidel. It is located outside of the city and thus must have its own defenses.
Below the white spumes of the wind blown sea, in the inky depths of the oceans vast domain, lie fantastic cities and civilizations undreamt of by surface dwellers. While most think tales of such are legends, the sea faring folk know better.
In the Great Blue Bay, there is a deep undersea drop canyon that leads to a great aquatic plain. Both surface dwellers and sea dwellers utilize the great aquatic forrest and harvest its bounty. Here the Lands of Men meet the Kingdom of the Deep. The place that they meet is called Neptune’s Court.
It has been many years since the War of Decay, but the fallen still keep steadfast vigil over the border, even if they were once fallen enemies.
There is a place of mystery and wonder located to the east of the Prosary Midlands. Three towers on a plain of mirror shined obsidian that ring a fourth tower that is entirely supported by nothing more than thin air, above the spires of the other three towers. Volturn’s Towers are considered a magical wonder to behold. Tales of the towers agree on one thing: there’s a lot of strange things happening there!
Spires of crystals reach in the barren sky, glittering like the teeth of some long since slain carnivore god…
A place more holy than any other
Seemingly cast out of vast sheets of crystal, glass and ice, the Sorcerer’s Palace is a breath taking wonder of the city. Few doubt the benevolence of Emet the White who makes his abode within the palace that is as much a work of art as it is a home.
The Demon gates are all hidden from prying eyes, either under mountains or lost within their vast chasms. In fortresses hidden by magic, or guarded by the unknowing. A single key, if found, will open only a specific gate. However, directions to the gates location are inscribed on each key in a demonic script. Only those loyal to Caedmon, or can understand the ancient written language of the Demon’s are able to read it.
The gates are massive stone doorways standing roughly thirty feet in height and twenty feet wide and made of black granite or onyx, with scenes of a demonic horde flooding through the gate as a wave through a cistern. Horrific images of murder and unspeakable acts toward the mortal races also adorn the doors.
Built to house riches that never came, the ironically-named Treasure House now lies in tumbling ruin.
Lying forgotten on the ocean floor by the children of Acqua,reposes the very monument that commemorates the passing of the islands from the hands of the Old Ones into those of their ancestors who sailed out of the mists long ago to claim them for their descendents.
But in a twist of extreme irony,others have come to venerate this creation abandoned by the race of man that built it. They are the Old Ones,the very same race whose defeat this statue is supposed to represent.
Ever since the two major religions of Acqua, that of Jove and Ulmania, were created, their clergy have hated each other with a passion that at times has led to violence. Mostly it just means that they do everyrhing differently out of spite.They have different liturgical uses, different hymms and prayers, different baptism,wedding and funeral services. The priests of Jove favour cremation for the dead in nearly all cases, so the priests and priestesses of Ulmania favour burial.
Where there is enough space this is not a problem, but in crowded Banhoesea it became a major issue.The bodies of Ulamanian worshippers were being buried secretly in the floors and foundations of houses or in soon to be dug up land or in crop fields.After a major outbreak of disease the De Madden Company Central Council, of which all but one worshipped Jove, threatened to outlaw the Ulmanian religion, persecute it’s beleavers and confiscate it’s assets.
The great majority of Sea Witches and a few Sea Wizards were Ulmanian beleavers and called a nationwide strike, trapping half the De Madden Company fleet in harbour.Without magic most could not leave harbour safely and even the ten masters would take a long time to get anywhere.
The Central Council got really angry and arrested the strike leaders, threatening to hang them. The strikers threatened to use their magic to cause huge waves within the harbours and wreck the ships within.A compromise was reached.The strike leaders were set free and Ulmania’s Church purchased a large,partly rocky, mile-long island, with a quarter of the Church’s wealth. This was to be their Isle of the Dead.
All burials outside it were banned with the threat of very severe punishment for those who disobeyed.
That was over seven hundered years ago…
The earth is bleached white, and brittle underfoot. Ribs and vertebrae litter the ground like driftwood and in the distance, colossal bones of slain giants rise like hungry fingers clawing at the iron grey sky. The wind rises, howling through the empty eye sockets of hollow skulls. A rain of hail begins, pelting the ground with fingerbones and teeth.
Welcome, ye miserly sinners. Welcome to Hell.
The Road… traverses Time—Time past, Time to come, Time that could have been, and Time that might yet be. Some people have the ability to access the Road and travel it from Time to Time and world to world.
A thousand years ago,the Red and the White mages almost exterminated each other in a magical war so great, that the very mountians were turned into quartz.Centuries passed and the magic died away enougth for humans to visit the area and remain in human form. And a city of quartz was built upon the site, which is the most magical city in the whole world…
A city lost in time. A city in ruins. Knowledge was they key staple in the city until mortals believed they were smarter than the Gods.
"When our barbarian ancestors first arrived on the plains of our homeland, they found them covered in dust inches thick. They named them Muranvan, the Dusty Plains and armed with spades they cleared the dust heaving it off the edge of the world. For they had been chasing the Prey for long aeons up the face of the cliffs at the edge of the world, and in the chase had tired of their nomadic ways. They wanted a stable home. So they founded Takvanak, the City on the Plains. In the long silence after they had cleared the dust from Muranvan, rang out the deep and unforgettable tones of the Iron Heart, Saekeri, and the barbarians knelt and felt resounding reverence."
- The Saekeran, book 1 verse 1.
Cities are dynaimc organisms, alive in their own right. They grow and develope their own natures and their own cultures that are unique to them. Some are eloquent and grand, while others are slightly dirty, and willing to be bought. But anything alive can die…
Bag on a Stick
Very simple gag but a great one, since it can be used multiple times over, even in the same adventure. Great for tribal natives gone restless and humanoids, but anyone can have set this up. Just what the header says, a simple bag over a stick stuck in the ground or floor.
As GM you can place the bag on a stick anywhere, in a floor crack the heroes have passed before, outdoors in a clearing or path, or at the edge of the PCs' encampment the following morning, what have you. Place anything on the stick - a coiled yellow viper angered by the bag removal, mini crossbow w/poison, transdermal hallucinatory drug dusted on the bag, yellow mold colony, an NPC ally's head, a weapon, scroll tube or satchel, what have you.
The idea is to build tension and/or stall for time/distract the party. Provided it's used properly, you'll be amazed at how paranoid players will get from this simple gag.