Purpose:

The Lords of Terrasquestone are superficially tasked with the mundane administration of the city, the keeping of the castle, and managing access to the Gygaxian Gyre under the castle. This is typically what everyone assumes the Lords do. In times of peril, the Lords use their power to magically defend and reinforce the castle, and protect it and its people from ruin.

Agenda:

Maintain the city of Terrasquestone

Protect the castle of Terrasquestone

Study and learn the Wards of Power, these seven scrolls are held in jeweled caskets and contain the histories, mysteries, tragedies, and lore of the World that Is (The DungeonVerse and the Numinous Road)

Protect the Relics of Terrasquestone

Protect the Gygaxian Gyre

Serve the Dungeon Core at the base of the Gyre

Leader:

The Lords of Terrasquestone are led by the High Lord. This position is elected by the Lords from among their number. The High Lord is granted unrestricted access to the Wards of Power, the vaults that house the relics, and the crypts that hold the Hallowed Dead. One of the Inner Mysteries is that the High Lord can travel the length of the Gygaxian Gyre and will be protected and treated as a royal guest by all present. Most High Lords will serve their entire term without setting foot into the dungeon proper.

The current High Lord is Navenka Kyfka, a former cleric and healer. She chose the Stole and the Staff as her tools of office.

Founder:

The first High Lord was a waifish woman named Claridimor.

Claridimor was a dungeon mage born from the depths of the Gygaxian Gyre and went to the surface when the dungeon extended its domain and took over the surface. As a creature it had created, she served the dungeon first and foremost, and established many of the High Lord traditions, with the creation of the Inner Mysteries and the Rites of Initiation. It wouldn't do for the mundane population to know that they were the peasants and property of a glowing self-aware rock almost a mile beneath their feet.

Another note is that there is a legend that Claridimor slumbers in the depths of the Gyre awaiting when Terrasquestone needs her again. This is partially true, she is still alive and very much active as she is part of the core's harem of champions. She has never been recognized by the few heroes who have penetrated the depths of the dungeon because she wears a fully articulated suit of dragonbrass armor that makes her look like a stylized female dragon warrior, albeit one that uses a staff and flame magic rather than a sword or spear.

Membership:

The Council of Lords varies in number, typically running in the vicinity of twenty-some-odd beings. At the weakest, there were two Lords and one High Lord, and at the previous zenith of Terrasquestone's power, there were well over a hundred Lords and a triumvirate of three High Lords to manage them all. There is a specific path and a set of requirements to become a Lord of the Keep.

The ability to form a conduit is essential, as a hero who cannot channel power from another source cannot be accepted.

They must have the ability to harness and manipulate essence. This doesn't mean just the ability to use magic, though that makes it much easier. What it means is that the applicant must be an adept of a sort and be aware of the essence in their body and have the ability to control it.

Strength of will is paramount, as a Lord is expected to handle large amounts of essence and power. A Lord who cannot handle power without it burning them out in quick order is not suitable for the task. Likewise for those who cannot retain their sense of self in the torrent or those who feel the touch of power and immediately turn to the shadow. It isn't that Terrasquestone is innately Good, but that without control over dark emotions and impulses, the Lord is much more likely to be tainted by evil and darkness and become an inhuman horror known as a Ravager.

Finally, the potential Lord must be bound to the dungeon core and become a dungeon mage themselves. Most Lords are not aware of this, only thinking they are tapping the primal power of the fortress and the vitality of the land around it. They are not aware that they are connected to the dungeon core, and have become extensions of it. In their defense, the Core itself is aware of them, but largely ignores the surface, leaving that to the Lords and the High Lord to manage, just as it leaves the day-to-day small details of the Gygaxian Gyre to the dungeon wights.

A Lord can opt out of this and become a Libertine, an unfettered one. Accepting this status requires the former Lord to give up all their material goods gained from Terrasquestone, and become an exile. This includes their name and identity, but then assuming a mononym, or just the appellation of Libertine, Libertus, Unbound One, or similar verbiage. These individuals retain a link back to the dungeon core and are left as free-roaming chaff to follow whatever their core desire is. It could be tending a forest, seeking the secrets of a waterfall, seeking the perfect recipe for bread, or something similar. These agents are more or less granted from the Dungeon to be used by the Numinous Road as it sees fit and ensures a good relationship between the dungeon and the road, something most dungeons never reach the sophistication to understand let alone exploit.

Resources:

In a word, VAST.

Terrasquestone is a repository of almost everything of value. It has a library second to none, as it has become tradition for the Lords to gather learning to themselves and sponsor schools and universities across the land, with the naturally greatest one being in the shadow of their great fortress. This is the congregation and accumulation of the mundane learning of the world, combined with copies of the spellbooks and grimoires of the mages, high and low. It also includes holy texts, copies of holy texts, unholy books, and forbidden tomes of horrific lore. Terrasquestone has the full of modern magical, mundane, and historical lore. It also has the Seven Wards, sacred scrolls containing the fundamental truths of the universe, but they are only read and studied with great peril and absolute truth comes with a high risk of madness. The keep also holds the busts of past High Lords who can impart wisdom, and experience and grant magical powers, the Holy Treasures, artifacts of power dedicated to Terrasquestone.

Financial resources are likewise vast. The keepers of the Gyre charge a toll to enter the dungeon and extract a tax on the treasures brought up from the depths. This allows them to mint their own currency, typically of dragonbrass. The Terrasquestone financial system is incredibly difficult to follow and understand, so moneychangers and exchequers are full-time professions. The citadel used a base 7 number system for their coinage, rather than the metric base 10 or imperial usage of eighths, twelves, and so forth. The most common coin is the dragonbrass Anjou, comparable in usage to the generic silver piece, but in a side-by-side comparison, the Anjou is worth more, as the ounce is divided into seven portions and not ten, and is about the size of a US nickel, where the average SP is functionally a dime. The Nerluc is a smaller dragonbrass coin comparable to the copper piece, but the nerluc contrarily is worth less, where there are ten CP to an ounce, there are fourteen nerlucs to the ounce, making them much smaller than a US penny. The tarascon is the dragonbrass equivalent of a GP, there are three to an ounce of metal, making them as large as the Kennedy half-dollar coin.

Nerlucs are minted with a torch on one side, and a profile likeness of the High Lord when they were made. They are commonly called lucs or lucks.

Anjou are minted with a stylized version of Terrasquestone castle on one side, and the likeness of the Terrasque itself on the reverse. 

Tarascon are minted with the seal of Terrasquestone on one side, and a full figure likeness of High Lord Vardes Hauduos on the reverse, complete with one breast exposed. The coin is vulgarly known as a 'Tit' and more commonly called a Vard.

The City Guard is large and well-equipped.

There are multiple guilds within the city, as per the Guilds of Folly, Terrasquestone has not one guild for dungeon delvers, but four. The Guild of Adventurers Upon Return is the second oldest and represents the classic adventure hero archetype, and many Lords and High Lords have come from this Guild over the centuries. The Guild of Champions is more combat-forward and is as likely to go monster hunting, prophecy seeking, and otherwise running their show like a shonen-style action adventure cadre. The Guild of Heroes has many demihuman members, and a few have made it to the ranks of the Lords, as they understand service, power, and what Terrasquestone means.

In short order, the Guilds can turn out hundreds of low-level adventurers and seasoned veterans by the score. When these forces join with the City Guard and man the walls, Terrasquestone is nigh impenetrable.

The Forgotten Guild is what the Dungeon itself creates to send to the surface to keep things interesting.

Magic is rife in Terrasquestone. As mentioned elsewhere, magic essence is thick and magic users have an easier time recharging their auras and refilling their tokens and fetishes to fuel their magics. It is functionally not just a function of ley lines, but a massively stable whirlpool of essence. Its all revolving around the Dungeon Core and the castle and city are functionally massive geomantic runes designed to control, harness, and enrich the natural flow of essence through the entire region and provide a massive source of natural energy to fuel the dungeon core.

Arc Phrases:

Blood and Stone

Live and make worthy the sacrifices of the Deceased

Joy is in the ears that hear

Accepting the gift honors the giver

Symbolism:

The colors of Terrasquestone are orange and green. The orange can sometimes be replace with gold, rose gold, or copper, though the Hunter green remains largely unchanged.

The terrasque is the heraldic device of the city. The official seal is a stylized terrasque rearing and facing to the left, jaws open and claws extended, orange on a field of green.


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