Cliffworld is a unnatural finite and closed universe.
To the inhabitants, it is a great shaft in endless stone, 200 miles deep, and 200 miles in diameter.
The Cliff: The edge of the vast shaft, 120 000 square miles of cliffside. Cities, waterfall-rivers, terraces and odd shaped trees are the main artifacts visible.
Dreadfully hard and stable bedrock, tunnels take a great deal longer to dig then on other worlds, though mineral resources are common. Caverns do exist, and if one digs deep enough, they would emerge at the other side of the cliff.
200 miles down, a plain of about 300 square miles is a mixed landscapes of water,earth and fire - lakes of water and lava and volcanoes .
"For every day you're in this place, you're two days closer death." - Great Big Sea's Chemical Worker Song.
The land of Elrith is not known for the health and happiness of its people.
The Black Mines of Nemith are one of the worst places in a rather unpleasent country. The Miners that work here live short lives, and the local women bury many husbands in the course of their lives.
This was common with the deadly coal mines of our world, the black coal ruining mens lungs. However these mines are diamond mines, but a malignent type indeed. Deep beneath the surface their lies some fell place whose foul emanations work their way closer to the surface. Go to Comment
Another ploy to reduce mobility and danger of possible undead is for the corpse to be mutilated. From as simple as cutting all major tendons, decapitation, and full dismemberment.
32. Crossroad Burial
To confuse the arisen dead and preventing it from finding its home, corpses of beings likely to arise are buried at crossroads.
The Kayeed people have a special area south of their captial, called the Ithinia or Hashworks, which consists of a massive array of criss-crossing roads with many scores of crossings. At each crossing may be found many graves, with the corpses interred vertically and head-first to further impede possible rising.
Appeasment of the Dead
From as simple as closing the eyes of the dead, to long, elaborate ceremonies, the following customs are intended to appease the dead to not bother the living.
Respite is a large city with a population of over 50000 squeezed into its wooden palside walls. No stone buildings exist yet - the most advanced structures being multistory wood structures, and most being leather tents.rnrnFood is a constant issue - no harvests have yet been made and even cleared land for planting is in short supply. Hunting, and fishing in the nearby Broadbank river provide most of the cities food.rnrnSanitation is non-existant in the city - though efforts are being made to change this. Though thrown together by catastrophy and lacking a strong central authority, there are factions strong enough to begin to bring the chaos to order.rnrnFactionsrnrnThe LifebringersrnrnA church formed from an amalgum of religions, it is continutally evolving as its members hammer together its’ doctrine and its pantheon of gods. It is led by the powerful cleric Motensheve. It has one of the strongest military resources with many brought in looking for something to believe in, shaken by the death of their world.rnrnKing GrethulrnrnNot the most powerful king before the Fall, he was one of the farthest from the demonic incursion, and so was able to bring the largest homogenous force through the gate. His control faltered though, and many of his lords broke off fealty. Many of these made joined the two outmigrations that took away much of Respite’s original population, seeking to establish additional cities.
Krolor - Sir Velanth Krolor. Knight of King Nyar - who led most of his people through the gate.
King Nyar led most of his people on the first Excursion,leaving Krolor and about 300 other 'knights' and men-at-arms behind as his 'abassadors'. In truth, Nyar did not trust Krolor and had the Fall not happened, might have thrown him into a dungeon to rot.
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The gate flashed, and a dozen bedraggled figures emerged, surrounded by the Sentinels. Quickly they were disarmed and spells readied. The beastmaster with his pair of wolves moved in, searching for clues - for signs that abyssal evil had hitched a ride with the newcomers. One of the wolves suddenly howled and immediately the young man they were examining was grabbed by the Sentinels.
He made to fight, but an amber beam from a wand transfixed him. He then collapsed and was dragged away by two Sentinels.
"One day, no more" High Wizard Ionus said quietly to the grey-robed cleric who stood nearby. "The incidents are getting more frequent. One of these times, it will be something more then a dark-tainted human that they find."
"My prayers are for those who did not make the journey, Ionus, and I understand the need to close the gate. The sacrifices made ", the cleric unconsciously handled his spherical holy symbol, " to open it forbid us from squandering the sanctuary we have here. It is a new world, and our place in it has yet to be decided. You have my support on this matter."
"My thanks, High Garun. Where are you going?"
"To try and save one more soul," said the cleric as he walked towards the isolation tent.
Dimi ibn Yousif found the chaos here almost as bad as where he left, though little blood was being shed. Though many decended into subterfuge, most had their fill of violence in their exodus. Dimi's journey was no different - his group of raiders had been nearly wiped out by a squadron of demonic lancers. The touch of their cruely barbed spears was enough to incinerate horse and rider, quick enough for the demonic rider to burst through the acrid clouds of smoke. Only the intrecession of the remaining gate defenders saved Dimi's life and granted him the time to make the gate. The fight must not have gone well, for no further members of his people came through the gate therafter.
A week has passed since his arrival, and he has found no signs of his countrymen in Respite. He did find that even in this pit of chaos, wenching and carousing could be had, though it was difficult to find something to pay for the pleasures of the flesh. His horse was having similar difficulties - good fodder or even ground to graze upon was very difficult to find.
He was not entierly unsuccessful - it was mentioned more then once that just prior to his arrival, a massive exodus of nearly thirty thousand left Respite to found their own city, and some people who wore similar clothing had left with them.
Kou'rha's day was very interesting. A hunting party from the outsider's city had come within a few bowshot of the village, and the village council was in an uproar. A bit closer, and the strangers would have come across the northmost Stoneflute and surely that would make them look even closer. Now the council would decide on their course of action.
Rajani found the entry fairly painless. After entering the gate at a somewhat undignified run, he percieved little transition as he appeared in front of a heavily armed phalanx of warriors. He felt the touch of powerful magic dance across his somewhat feeble magical defenses, and then felt them delve deeply - as if examining his soul on a vivisectionist's table. A moment and it was over, and the soldiers parted to allow him to pass.
A man wearing ornately painted leather robes walked over to him, bearing a long, equally ornately painted staff.
"Welcome to Respite, and pardon the intrusion - though I believe you understand it's .. necessity. Come, sit with me. I have a few minutes to speak before the gate opens again. Too few have been of your nature my friend."
The contrast was incredible. One moment he was running pell-mell to the gate as unimaginable horrors slid over the castle walls and onto the outer battlement. "All is lost! Every man for himself!" was the cry as the defenders turned from steadfast force to a panicked herd. Perhaps one in three made the gate, and Toboran was one of those.
He barely noticed the searching spells and took interested note of the wolves that came up to him, but did little apart from sniff at his trail rations - their reactions one of distaste.
"Welcome to respite! The warriors hostel is to your right ", the soldier who addressed him pointed. No-one even asked his name, he noted.
Food and shelter were ridiculously high priced here - both were in short supply. He would need to find employment soon, or perhaps go hunting. Hunting was his preference, but the forests here were unknown to him, and had been demonstrated to be dangerous.
Walking about the chaotic city, he happened upon one of the few taverns here, the Bearded Gremlin.
What the hell, he thought as he turned to enter..
The barkeep looked at the noisy one. He barely understood a word - "Ale" and "Swine". Terrisch was not the brightest of men, nor the best listener, but he understood intent. The noisy one found his ale distateful - which was no surprise, because Terrisch thought it so as well. No matter - he would show this one why there was no bouncer here. He straightened up, displaying his full six and half feet of height, his broad shoulders and massive fists. He cracked his knuckles, smiled grimly and said "Sez you what?"
And it was this moment that Toboran entered the bar.
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Darkness raised. He tried to sit up, but found he could not move. He was not paralyzed, but he was trapped inside something - something metal. It felt like a suit of armor, but unarticulated - down to his fingertips. He couldn't see much either, though apparently there were holes he could breath through, and a little flickering light filtered in through those holes.
"Awake I see" said a disembodied voice. "Just as well - I was growing tired of waiting. Now my friend, or perhaps fiend, you will tell me about yourself. Why you bear the taint, and why I should not have your torso cracked like a walnut?" At that, Jhoric felt pressure on his chest - cold and unyielding. It relaxed almost as quickly as it started.
"Take care in your response - falsehoods will be ... unfortunate."
Ionus looked with suprise as the fear crossed Rajani's face. Perhaps he was wrong...
"I mean one of the Art, my Lady. Nothing more. Is there something you wish to share?" - a pause. "No matter - you are free of Demontaint, and that is all we care about. The Diabolic arts we have decided to ban forever. We shall not allow for the fate of our worlds to follow us here, and so we must prob all who enter, and be vigilant against any such magics. We dug no further then to satisfy this need. Could you share with me the last happy moment you had in your world? I hear too much grimness lately, and would like at least one moment to reflect upon before I hear another tale of woe - all with the same ending."
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"I have a few of their eggs," shell produced a half dozen mottled green and brown spheres from a small purse, "But I do not think there is life left in them, I think they were of Endkelton, but not of this place."
Well Damn, these little critters are going to make an appearance at some point for sure!
High Garun has a hold over Jhoric - part blackmail, part Geas, part worse.
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Definately worth one, plus the sweet plot hook.
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Scras - Rajani
Dozus - Alun
Pariah - Dimi
Drackler = Toboron
Hrofgar - Balin
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Toboran lunged at the swine, his spear striking the beast yet again, driving it into it's side and eliciting an enraged squeal. At that moment, Dimi swung his weapons at the beast's exposed throat. The scimitar glanced off the beast's tough hide, but the kuri plunged deep into its throat, an obviously mortal wound.
But not obvious to the swine .
Turith slashed at the beast attacking him with desperate strikes, but failed to part the fell beast's hide. Two more of the warriors at front swung their weapons at the beast and one managed to injure it with an axe.
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It took the better part of a day for the party to find the roadstone. The streets of Respite had been choked by yet another influx of refugees, and it seemed it would not be long before the cramped city burst from the already huge population. Improved catches from the fishermen had somewhat alleviated the hunger situation, and had contributed to several pounds of dried fish being added to the party's provisions.
The gaurds had said little to the odd party as it marched out of the gate, though they had attracted many stares as they wended through the streets. A half-ogre with an old man riding him like a mule, Jaegarmond, a brace of lizardfolk and a dwarf made a very strange picture.
Balin had been given a scrap of precious parchment and some charcoal to take an impression of whatever was on the roadstone, and was also asked to grab any samples of odd plants he should encounter.
Windell had laughed when Jaegarmond approached him about the sapling. "Well, my dear Jaegarmond, you seem to be quite the fertile fellow! Now, take care of him - he _can_ move by the way, and he's not quite as helpless as he looks. Have a good journey!"
The party had also been given a pair of healing potions, to be returned if they weren't used during the expedition.
The stone had been fairly easy to find, just a few dozen yards north of the treeline. A group of charcoal burners were at work nearby and stared at the party as they approached.
The stone was about 4' tall, and had five smooth facets, all carefully carved and polished. Not a sign of an errant chisel mark could be found. On the smooth faces were a number of words deeply enscribed and filled with moss. The runes, Balin could attest, were definately of dwarven origin, but the words themselves, being names, did not provide much information. "Hathredhar", the north-oriented face said. "Othisthar" said the North-east, "Yaardmar", the south-easterly, "Marythranar" the southern, and "Traya Thnar" the western facet said. Some of the words rung somewhat familiar, but it would take some time to digest their meaning.
While Balin pondered over the meaning of the runes, the charcoal workers became bored and went back to work. Toboran noticed that nearby the charcoal workers a number of warriors were stationed under some cover, and each worker was quite well armed. Apparently this was not a quiet area.
Eskithar, rooting about, gave a hiss of triumph and held up a turtle he had found nearby a log. "Lunchssssh!" he said...
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Lefttover from before
Houses and Buildings
Concrete,wood and steel did not pass out of style as the years advanced, so most buildings had similar 'bones'. However, broadcast power was heavily used and so was greatly decentralized power generation with photovoltaic roofing tiles in common use. These tiles were terribly vulnerable to the EMP pulses that occurred during the Fall and so most of the common electricity sources are gone.
Some facilities still exist that could be brought on line if their control circutry could be replaced, either with new tech, or simpler tech - the turbines and furnaces are largely intact.
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You've probebly heard of the real Thomas Hopkins, Witchfinder-General, who hunted down and hanged suspected "witches". What if there was a world/realm where magic was normal, and it was the non-witches and non-wizards who were hunted down and hanged as inferior beings?