Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

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Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:36 pm

Here's a new project I've been trying to get off the ground for years. I'm modeling these sphere guides after the Volo's Guides, which I'm a fan of. Its very much a work in progress and I wouldn't mind hearing some feedback. For these, I'm tackling spheres such as Winter, Way, Heart, and Refuge; places that have gotten some coverage in novels & supplementary materials, but never given a proper treatment. Just my take on these places, nothing more. Be aware that this is more of an "in-character" guide, much like the Volo's guides, and thus should be considered unreliable.

As a side note, I came up with the Kraken as the identity of my character, Raken's father. Raken wouldn't know this, and it doesn't play a part in the game, and probably not even "official" (if Paul cares). The Kraken has fathered dozens, probably hundreds, of children, so Raken is likely to have half-sibblings all over the Known Spheres and would never know it (he always thought his father was a miner on Greela, his homeworld, who died long before Raken was old enough to remember him). He's similar to Julio the Airship captain from Order of the Stick (although his crew isn't all female ;) )


Winterspace
Preface: The author of these travelogues is the scoundrel known as “The Kraken”, a famous free trader, smuggler, and occasional pirate. His vessel, the Crimson Kraken, stops by Refuge every few years for repairs. He vanished completely six years ago, his treasures never recovered. All that was discovered in the room that he normally stays at is a set of travelogues. The tomes proved remarkably accurate in their description of the Known Spheres, far more detailed than other like tomes, and thus were published by the Arcane. The Kraken’s Guides to the Known Spheres proved popular with captains looking for trading advice and adventurers seeking their fortune amidst the spheres.
This particular travelogue details Winterspace, the frigid sphere known only for two things – the excellent ports of Radole, and the bitter, biting cold that makes the sphere one of the most unpleasant to journey to.

A Word from the Kraken
Beware of Winterspace. The sphere may seem an attractive plum to a young adventurer seeking a little coin by, say, less than legal means, but take heed, this is a sphere you do not want to take lightly. It is not so much the cold, or the ice fists that abound in the sphere. No, the danger is the authorities. Winterspace crawls with them. First, there are the elves. See, they’ve got something down on Armistice, and they don’t want nobody near that planet. They guard it more fiercely than a dwarf guards his treasure. Then there’s the natives of Radole. They’ve got themselves a navy that you just don’t want to mess with. Sure, they’re green, more for show than battle. What they lack in experience, they make up for in numbers. They possess the most powerful navy in the sphere, and can bring more swords and catapults against you than you can count. Best stick to the Bones, and Ryme and its moons. At least there you can elude pursuers in the rocks or clouds.

Introduction
If you must travel to Winterspace, the first thing to know is how to get there. Winterspace is not a place that is easy to navigate to. The rivers in the Phlogiston that link to Winterspace are small and difficult to find, but very swift. A good craft can make the journey from Realmspace in roughly twenty-five standard days, give or take a ten-day depending on the skill of the navigator and crew. The same rivers link Winterspace with Heartspace, a voyage that should take about fifteen days, give or take five days.

The next thing to know is to be prepared for cold weather. Winterspace is a cold sphere. Upon entering the sphere, the air of a ship will drop rapidly until you can see your breath and vapor in the air turns to frost. At the edge of the sphere, the air is biting cold. Furs and heavy leathers are recommended outerwear, with gloves to protect the hands from frostbite. These can be shed for lighter wear closer to the sphere’s primary, Aember, but unless you travel closer to Aember than Radole, you will need at least a warm coat. Also be sure to bring hammers, shovels, and other ice-clearing tools, as the sphere is famous for icy nebulas that will leave thick coats of ice on any ship that is unfortunate enough to blunder into them.

Third thing to be aware of is the strong presence of two rather powerful militaries in the sphere. The first is that of the Elven Navy, who maintain a blockade of Armistice. Several Man-O-Wars and the occasional Armada patrol the wildspace around Armistice, and they are rumored to have divinations that alert them to any violations of their blockade. Their ships patrol the sphere as a whole as well, although they are not as strict patrolling the other planets as Armistice. The other military is the Radole Defense Fleet. This navy rarely ventures farther than high orbit from Radole. The Radole Defense Fleet is the largest military force, at least as far as I can determine, in Winterspace. However the elves are a much more experienced force, making their ships much more dangerous to engage.

Winterspace has other space-borne hazards beyond the cold that a traveler should be aware of. The most common are listed here.

Blizzard Nebulas
Beyond the orbit of Radole, there are innumerable Blizzard Nebulas. These clouds are hundreds of miles across, and practically invisible until you blunder into them. The first sign that something is wrong is a sudden temperature drop in the air envelope. A minute or two later, flurries will form at the outer edge of the air envelope and fall onto the deck and gravity plane. Green crewmen may be awed by this strange marvel. An alert and experienced helmsman or sail-master will turn the ship around to avoid the nebula, which the sharp-eyed can see as a pale gray smudge against the backdrop of space. Failing that, your ship will plunge straight into the cloud. At this point, your ship will drop to tactical speeds, and you will have to force your way out at that speed.

Crossing a blizzard nebula takes anywhere from a few minutes to two hours . During this time, your ship will be covered by a blanket of wet, heavy snow and anyone on deck will be exposed to biting winds that steal the warmth from your body . Visibility is reduced to a few feet; there are tales of crewmen actually getting lost on the deck of their own ship and freezing to death! Navigation, of course, is impossible in these conditions. The best thing to do is batten down the hatches and ride it out, huddling below decks.

After passing through a blizzard nebula, the crew will need to remove the snow and ice that accumulated on the trip. This takes a few hours of back-breaking work, but trust me it’s worth it. A few hours of work beats having a chunk of ice fall from a spar onto the head of a crewman .

Ice Fists
Ice fists are a common problem in Winterspace. These objects are smaller than proper comets but larger than catapult stones. They cross through space and smash into any ship they encounter, causing considerable damage. Ice fists are too small and fast to effectively spot and evade; only the most skilled of helmsmen can avoid them. Ice fists are common enough that a typical ship has a fair chance of getting smacked by one every day it spends in Winterspace.

Wolves of Space
One of the most terrifying hunters in Winterspace are packs of killer kindori. Reminiscent of the killer whales of Toril, these creatures are part kindori, part scavver, and all predator. They normally hunt schools of pish, which are abundant in the sphere, but larger packs have no qualms about attacking a passing ship. Packs will have as many as a dozen adults and one to four juveniles. They will ferociously attack crewmen on lines and on deck. Large bull males are strong enough to punch holes in the sides of ships with thin hulls to make a go at crewmen inside the ship.

The White Krajen
There are rumors of a white-skinned krajen of the largest size prowling Winterspace. I’ve been fortunate enough to not encounter such a creature but have heard enough sailor tales to not doubt its existence. This monster has been spotted all over Winterspace, most frequently around Whyst. It is reputed to have destroyed several merchant vessels and even a wasp of the Radole Defense Navy. The monster is thought to possess some intelligence, as cleverly laid plots to slay it inevitably fail, the krajen either eluding its pursuers or slaying them outright. One particularly ugly rumor I’ve come across is that a number of natives of Winterspace are agents or cultists of the White Krajen, making regular sacrifices to the creature to appease it.

Rime Scavvers
These nasty beasties are typically found between Whyst and the spherewall. They are large scavvers, about as big as night scavvers, with a bluish-black coloration on their skin and black-tipped fins. The singleton eye is always blue-white, the color of a glacier. Rime scavvers are unusually aggressive creatures, willing to attack passing ships and will chase crew through hatches into the hull of the ship itself. Rime scavvers breath is freezing cold, and three times per standard day they can exhale a great cone of freezing air that can freeze a person solid. The rime scavvers have no problem taking bites out of frozen meat and digesting it. They seem to enjoy frozen meat, as they are known to use their freezing breath on freshly killed corpses before taking bites out of it.

Navigating Winterspace
Winterspace is not a difficult sphere to navigate. The sphere is so small that one can easily sail from spherewall to spherewall, skirting the edges of Aember, in a mere ten days. This makes Winterspace a small sphere indeed. The compact nature of Winterspace, combined with the size of many of its planets, means that every major planet, and even the larger moons, are visible from almost anywhere in the sphere. Radole is sometimes lost in the glare from Aember at certain angles, while Armistice is almost always visible unless hidden behind another object between the observer and the planet. Whenever a native of Winterspace spies Armistice, they make signs to ward off evil, as the planet has an ill-reputation.

At the very center of the sphere is Aember, the small, feeble sun of Winterspace. Sages consider it a dwarf of a sun, although it is still the largest object in the sphere and bigger than most other worlds save the very largest air worlds. The first planet, the one closest to the primary, is Radole. Tidally locked, half the planet is a barren desert blasted by constant sunlight, while the other half is frozen over, where even the air itself turns liquid. Only a thin ribbon of land between the two is habitable, and that ribbon is the population center of the sphere. Next out is Ryme, a cold, icy gas world. The moons are rich in minerals, timber, and other highly desirable materials. Beyond Ryme is the Bones of Glyse, the wreckage of a world torn asunder by some cosmic tug-of-war between Ryme and Armistice. Armistice is the next major planet, a beast of an earth world fully three times the diameter of Toril and four times the diameter of Radole. Three moons, each nearly as large as Radole, orbit Armistice, causing the tidal effects on Armistice to be greatly exaggerated when compared to worlds such as Toril. Beyond Armistice is a gulf of wildspace known as the Iceberg Flow. Thousands of comets and ice-covered asteroids are found here, drifting lazily through space. Whyst is the final planet, a small iceball with a few small ports for captains to make planetfall and prepare before venturing out of the sphere.
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:36 pm

Aember

THE VITALS (This is a textbox in the document)
NAME: Aember
TYPE: Fire body
SHAPE: Spherical
SIZE: G
SATELLITES: N/A
DAY LENGTH: 10 hours
YEAR LENGTH: N/A
POPULATION: Sulghin


In terms of fire body primaries, Aember is a small, dim sun. The amount of light and heat it sheds is downright puny compared to the larger, more brilliant suns of other spheres. The light from Aember is so dim that you can stare directly at it without suffering any ill effects; the light from Aember is roughly equal to strong torchlight or a lantern when viewed from a distance greater than half a day’s travel. From Radole’s close orbit, Aember brightens considerably and can be blinding to look at directly.

Aember is cool for a fire body. The surface temperature will surely turn anyone to ash should they approach unprotected by magic. The intensity of the heat, however, is not beyond the means of simple protection from fire spells and devices. Thus it is possible for some vessels, given proper magical protections, to approach Aember’s surface and explore it. The trip is hardly worth the effort, I’m afraid. Aember’s surface is a fairly uniform, unbroken plain of fire, with rare loops of fire reaching thousands of miles into the void.

Sunspots
The surface is dotted with a handful of “sunspots”, areas where the surface is darker than the surrounding plain of fire. The spots are small and difficult to observe; there are twenty in all, and each one is about a hundred miles or so across. Aember’s sunspots are bizarre floating islands, black as charcoal and floating hundreds of miles above Aember’s surface. Oddly these sunspots are covered in coral-like growths that seem to thrive in the hellish environment.

The Sulghin
The Sunspot Islands are inhabited by this nasty race of creatures. Sulghin are similar in appearance to sahaugin, creatures of the deep sea of many worlds, save that the sulghin are brightly colored. Their bodies are red-orange in color, with their scales brightening to yellow-white down their arms and legs, ending in blue-purple hands and feet. The deposition of the sulghin is highly aggressive, attacking on sight with no effort to communicate with any trespassers on their claimed domains. The sulghin are reported to be about as intelligent as sahaugin and worship strange, alien deities of fire and brimstone. They travel in hunting packs of forty or so, dining on the heat-resistant pish that swarm around Aember’s atmosphere. They lair in extensive dungeon complexes carved out of the Sunspot Islands.

Palace of Quenched Flame
The race known as Efreet are known to get around, laying claim to just about every fire body in the Known Spheres, and Aember is no different. Only in Aember’s case, the Efreet are long dead. See, they built this grand palace that floats above Aember’s furnace-like sun, home to a hundred or more of the creatures and tens of thousands of slave beasts, only to abandon it centuries ago. Sages speculate some plague or curse befell the Palace, slaying its inhabitants and bringing it to ruin.

The Palace floats above Aember’s surface at an altitude of about 500 miles. Thermal outbursts from Aember will send the palace into a higher orbit on occasion. The Palace has been known to reach altitudes of 2,500 miles from Aember’s surface, a point somewhat accessible to those that take at least minimal protections against the intense heat and light radiating from Aember at such a close distance. Over the course of weeks, the Palace will sink back down to its typical altitude of 500 miles.

The Palace is a magnet for adventurers. It is a vast complex, the size of a small city, with dozens of minaret-capped towers, plazas, and temples, and underground dungeons. The Efreet are known to have left behind much treasure, along with many, many savage creatures of living fire and a like number of brass-constructed automatons that fiercely attack any intruders. These are but a nuisance compared to the fiery ghosts of dead Efreet that haunt the causeways and streets. Woe betides those poor souls who fall into their clutches; the city echoes with their dying screams.

I visited the Palace but once, after an outburst from Aember had tossed it into an unusually high orbit and allowed me to fly the Crimson Kraken right to its broken docks. I counted nine broken piers of stone and iron, hinting the Efreet once had a fleet of sun-sailing vessels. Many buildings were in ruins, showing signs of the decay of uncounted eons since their abandonment. The charred remnants of a wasp at one pier indicated we were not the first to attempt to plunder the ruins on this particular trip of the city to high orbit. As we broke the air envelope, which was surprisingly clean and fresh, we could hear the screams of humans or humanoids being horribly tortured. The screams never subsided once during the trip, so I cannot say if it were the unfortunates who came before us, or some ghastly nature of the city itself.

The city is unwalled, and access is as simple as walking from the pier into the city center. Between outbursts of unearthly screams, the city is dead quiet. Be very careful, as any noise will draw the attention of the predators that prowl the city. We chanced upon two hell hounds, and the noise from that battle attracted a pyrohydra! We managed to escape the pyrohydra, and return to our plundering. We navigated the ruins for an hour before finding a promising dungeon, which appeared unopened and unspoiled, and we broke in. I’ll spare you the details of the dungeon crawl, but our loot, after fighting several guardian creatures and solving a brass golem’s riddle, included a trunk full of gold, a brass fainting couch with silken cushions and an aura of divination magic, and nine blood-red rubies. Much of this treasure was, unfortunately, lost when we were forced to flee a horrific vestige of fire and ether, a ghostly Efreeti that chased us from the ruin! We saved at least the rubies, making the trip profitable but not to my liking. As we departed, we spied another ship, a hammership, heading down to the city. Not wanting to lose our hard-won loot to rivals, or suffer damage that would ruin our profit margins, we beat a hasty retreat.
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:39 pm

Radole

THE VITALS
NAME: Radole
TYPE: Earth body
SHAPE: Spherical
SIZE: E
SATELLITES: None
DAY LENGTH: N/A
YEAR LENGTH: 75 days
POPULATION: Humans, demi-
humans

Radole is a world divided between light and dark, with by a tiny ribbon of land in-between. It is tidally locked, with one face eternally facing the sun, while the other faces the cold void. Both sides are completely uninhabitable, as the sun-side is an inhospitable desert hot enough to melt lead while the night-side is so cold the air itself turns liquid in some parts. Only in the narrow ribbon between these two, where the sun barely peeks over the horizon, is life possible.

Getting to Radole can be tricky. Radole maintains a fairly large navy of several dozen vessels, mostly smaller vessels such as dragonflies, damselflies, and wasps, but include a fair number of larger vessels such as hammerships. The total naval size is a state secret but most peg it at about a hundred hulls. They patrol the space around Radole, and will intercept any ship that approaches their world. Anybody hoping to land at Radole have better have a very good reason to do so; if you lack such a good reason, they will at least turn your ship away. If you persist, expect to be put in chains and your ship impounded. And best be aware, sight-seeing and unlicensed trade are not considered “a good reason”.

While Winterspace may be cold, the people of Radole are downright frigid. They despise off-worlders and look for any excuse to lock them up in their prisons. To facilitate this and maintain an illusion of ‘good’, the natives have crafted an elaborate labyrinth of laws that the natives know instinctively, yet fail to inform visitors. It’s practically impossible to visit Radole without being arrested for some minor infraction. To make matters worse, officials follow off-worlders, watching them intently for any excuse to lock up off-worlders.

Spending a little time on Radole, a body comes to realize that what the people of Radole fear the most is change. It is almost as if they are in a reverie; as they have no concept of day and night, of seasons or change in weather. Their lives are a constant, unending cycle of resting and working, almost as if they were in a trance. Change breaks them out of that trance, and frightens them greatly. They view their world as a paradise, as food is plentiful and they want for little. Yet their lives are unimaginatively dull and boring. Talking to them reveals how dull and witless they are. They fear someone might come along and take their world away. Just keep this in mind when dealing with Radollians.

There are some Radollians with a spark of imagination and thirst for adventure, although these are rare birds indeed. Over many generations, many of these have departed Radole for other worlds in Winterspace and beyond. Many of the inhabitants of other worlds, such as the Moons of Ryme and Whyst, are of Radollian stock. Those that stayed are recruited into the ranks of the merchant-nobility.

Radole is ruled by a caste of merchant-nobles, divided into seven very loose clans or families. The nobles are fascinated by otherworldly trinkets, and use their extensive operations to acquire the most exotic wares wildspace has to offer. Smart, independent merchants can make good coin sating their curiosity, yet must always be wary of being ensnared by the Radollian legal system. The individual tastes of the nobles change with time; their current interests include fancy jewelry, spices, and art. In the past flashy clothes, magic, and exotic pets were all highly sought after. Weapons are always desired, used to further arm their Radole Defense Fleet as well as defend their fleets of merchant vessels.

There are really two ways to handle business on Radole: hire an agent to handle it so you never have to set foot on the planet, or have a powerful noble sponsor your visit. A noble sponsor provides some manner of immunity to legal harassment. Hiring an agent is better, so long as you can find one who you can trust. A number of these agents may be found in the city-states of Ryme’s moons. I recommend the following: Borealis Novia (typically found in Igoo at Undin), Finathil Fairwind (who can be found at Irondeep on Whyst), Lady Glimmerstake (found in Gloomspire City at Oir), Malchitt the Fletch (also operates out of Gloomspire City), and Miss Karadim of Glacierhead. All are as trustworthy as one might expect for such agents, although be warned they have their own agendas and their fees are quite steep. There are many others that will pose as agents, always willing to run cargo down to Radole for a price. Never trust ‘em.

Noble sponsorship is harder to acquire. Nobles are rather hesitant to sponsor anyone they do not know, or at least heard of by reputation. Deeds of note, of course, always help, particularly in Winterspace. I find hiring a few bards to sing your praises at taverns across the sphere goes a long way to peak the interests of Radollian nobles. Once a noble has taken an interest in ye, he or she will use their agents to make contact. Negotiations can take a while, often weeks. Once obtained, ye will be presented with a Letter of Passage, allowing the bearer to travel to Radole’s cities. Present this document to the Radole Defense Fleet when confronted, and they’ll let yer ship pass. These papers can be forged easy enough, although the Defense Fleet has caught wind to such scams are on the lookout for them. Getting caught with forged papers carries one of the stiffest penalties, that of being banished to the Darkside. So make sure yer forger is REALLY good!

Radole has seven cities of note, all located along the Ribbon, of course! The rest of the Ribbon is just miles and miles of farmland. Outside the cities, the countryside is dotted with small hamlets, each with roughly the same number of families (about fifty). The buildings are all constructed with doors, windows, and gardens facing the sun. They are sunken into the earth, with no structure allowed to rise more than a few feet over the horizon its shadow will obstruct sunlight from reaching houses and gardens behind the building in question. The whole Ribbon slopes ever so slightly, as if it were one giant ramp, to allow maximum amount of light to reach all parts of it. Hamlets are linked by sunken roads, wide enough to allow carts to travel and deep enough to prevent travelers from casting long shadows over the land. As lumber is scarce, mud brick is commonly used.

There a few ancient castles of exotic design. Nobody really knows who built the castles; most just attribute it to the same “Ancient Ones” who raised a wall of mountains to keep the glaciers of the Darkside at bay. The castles are made of crystal and magic, with fantastic turrets that gleam and cast no shadows, yet are clearly opaque. What purpose they originally served, none can say but today they serve as the ancestral home of the noble families that rule Radole. Despite these castles being possibly twenty thousand years old, they are in remarkably good shape, practically untouched by the ravishes of time. This is partially due to the magic used in their construction, and partially due to how carefully they are maintained. Architecture is all but a lost art on Radole; a severe scarcity in resources such as wood means that it is far cheaper to maintain and repair structures than to build new ones. The knowledge to build new structures has been lost to the Radollians; should they need to build a new structure, they must rely on off-world architects. These jobs can be very locative for said architects, but do not think the Radollians will go easy on these architects! Any slip-up on the architect’s part may see said architect imprisoned, or even banished. Completing the work for free might result in the architect’s release, a fascinating way for Radollians to get something for nothing.

As noted above, Radole has seven magnificent cities, each one ruled by a noble-merchant family. These cities lack any sort of walls that guard other cities of similar size; such walls would forever cast the cities in shadow and the Radollians hate the thought of it. Not that they have much a need for such things; Radole is a single unified nation, with no independent city-states or opposing kingdoms. The occasional pirate raid is as close to war as Radole has experienced in thousands of years.

Nightside
Massive glaciers of snow and ice cover the Nightside of Radole. Only a wall of mountains, 15,000’ high in most parts, prevents the glaciers from overwhelming the Ribbon. These mountains are known to have been built by some unknown, ancient race, as they are obviously not natural in origin. They appear more similar to a line of pyramids, with regular shape and uniform heights. Small breaks in the wall allow glacial meltwaters to flow into the Ribbon, providing a steady supply of fresh water. The mountains are riddled with passages and chambers, for what function no one can say. They all bear the mark of a three-pedal flower, a common symbol used by the Ancient Ones in other spheres.
Reaching the Nightside is relatively easy. There are numerous tunnels through the mountains, and passes over them, should ye need to reach the Nightside by foot. Ships can fly over the wall as well. The winds can be fierce, so most ships will opt to fly into wildspace first before crossing the boundary. More than one ship has been wrecked trying to cross the mountains too low and got caught in a sudden downdraft.

The Nightside is cold and barren; there truly is little to see here. Just an endless glacier that gradually gets colder and colder the closer one gets to the center of the Nightside. At some point, even the air begins to liquefy and even turn into a strange sort of snow. Here, unless ye be protected by powerful magic, death will be coming for ye. People who have survived trips to this death zone claim to see shadowy figures stalking them, always remaining just out of sight but every so often the survivor would spot something move out the corner of their eye. Most attribute it to cold-driven madness.

Only cold-loving monsters survive here. White puddings, ice toads, winter wolves, and yeti stalk the fringes of the Nightside, likely summoned monsters who escaped and bred true in the wilderness. Their numbers are not such to be a threat to properly prepared parties. Deeper into the glaciers are the domain of giant worms, cousins of the more common purple worms, that tunnel through both the glaciers and solid rock alike. For travelers through the Nightside, the tunnels bore out by the worms provide easier movement that crossing the crevasse-filled glaciers.

Sunside
The fringes of the Sunside are wide rangelands that gradually turn into wastelands and rocky desert. The rangelands are used to raise sheep, goats, and cattle at the portions closest to the Ribbon, and in the portions of the desert that humans can endure, domesticated giant lizards. Herdsmen ride flightless, featherless birds known as orraks, which are both swift and hardy in the desert climate. The lizards produce great quantities of eggs, which are sold for 1 g.p. apiece, and meat that is delicious and filling.

The Sunside is the opposite of the Nightside, whereas the Nightside is cold and dark, the Sunside is bright and hot. Temperatures heat up dramatically the further a body travels into the Sunside; at its very center, where Aember is directly overhead, the temperatures are hot enough to melt lead! These conditions are downright inhospitable, yet life is not entirely absent. This is the domain of the steelback beetles, a rather nasty monstrosity that is a good 20’ long and has a bite that can rip a man in half. The creatures are deceptively fast and completely relentless. Once they catch the scent of prey, they will pursue for days, if necessary. I’m told all steelbacks are female, and grow quickly once hatched from an egg. Some claim that so long as light shines upon their shells, steelbacks are immortal. They certainly are not immortal, but damned tough to kill.

Radole’s Sunside is thought to be home to a unique form of dragon, the Mithril Dragon. These majestic beasts soar above half-molten mountains without a care in the world. Never make these dragons mad; when enraged, they’ll unleash beams of silvery light from their jaws that no protection in the Known Spheres can defend against. I’ve seen good men turned to ash, their Rings of Fire Resistance turned to slag. Never seen one land, and most think they spend their entire lives riding the thermals of the Sunside. Sometimes they are spotted over the rangelands bordering the Ribbon, but that is as close as they get to the Ribbon. They seem to love steelback, as groups of the dragons will circle a steelback, blasting it with their silvery beams and then tearing chunks out of the carcass, all without touching a claw to the ground.

Miners sometimes dig tunnels from the Ribbon under the edges of the Sunside, searching for mineral wealth. These ventures can be expensive, yet profitable when miners return with nuggets of gold, silver, and mithril. Miners make heavy use of magic to reinforce their tunnels, as wood is too scarce for standard bracing. The costs eventually surpass the rewards and mines are eventually abandoned. Once the miners move out, other residents are quick to move in. From simple herdsmen looking for places to rest their animals to wizards looking for quiet places to conduct experiments best kept from prying eyes, no mine remains abandoned for too long.

Tyme
Tyme is the premiere ports on Radole. Spotting the city is easy; it is surrounded by dozens of sinkholes or craters, all well over two hundred feet across and nearly as deep. The largest sinkhole is over a thousand feet across with a shallow lake at the bottom. The city docks are at the bottom of the holes. The elaborate system of cranes and skilled dockworkers make for efficient loading and unloading of cargo. A hammership can be unloaded in a matter of a few hours and repacked with Radolian goods in almost as quick of time.

Of the cities of Radole, Tyme is the most welcoming. The docking facilities are the most extensive of all the cities on Radole and the people the least likely to follow a spacer around until they can catch ‘em breaking some obscure rule. The city specializes in trade, so if a captain has business on Radole, Tyme is his most likely destination.

Tyme is a large city with a population somewhere north of one hundred thousand. It occupies a very large slope rising gradually towards the mountains on the Nightside, affording the most sunlight to its citizens. The docks are located at the base of the slope, where the ground is slightly softer and easier to dig into. The city docks are extensive enough to handle as many as fifty ships at any given time, more if ships simply land in the fields above the city.

The city is a plutocracy ruled by the Hrull merchant family and their many allies. In theory the city is ran by a council of forty elders who are the most prominent business men and respected statesmen. In reality most are Hrull family members or work for the Hrull unofficially. Very little business happens in the city without being connected, directly or not, to the Hrull family.

Tyme is a clean, well-run city. The streets are broad and paved with ancient stones. The city is built on a sun-facing slope so that very little is cast in the shadow of buildings. By law or custom, few buildings are any taller than a single story, and most are built down into the earth with extensive cellars. Many connect to the tunnels under the city and to the sinkhole docks. The more run-down parts of the city are near the base of the hill, behind rows of buildings that cast a long, eternal shadow over several city blocks.

Landmarks
Hrull Manor
The Hrull Manor is the largest structure on the sprawling Hrull Estate. It is a long, elaborate brick structure three stories high, one of the tallest structures in the city. The Manor is surrounded by elaborate gardens tended to by dozens of groundskeepers. There are several adjacent structures, including a library, a wizardry school, and quarters for the servants. Hrull Manor itself is richly decorated with marbled floors, mosaics, paintings, and sculptures, all from a hundred worlds. One entire hallway is devoted to a collection of Shou vases, protected by magical wards to guard against time and thieves alike. Indeed, would-be thieves should be wary, as the Hrulls are a family of wizards, many of great power, and they can be eccentric at times. Wandering the Manor unescorted can be a dangerous affair for those unaccustomed to blundering into exotic monsters, bizarre constructs, and wild magic.

The Manor has at least six levels. Observant readers might recall I mentioned only three stories above, and indeed that is correct. The trick is that three levels are extra-dimensional in nature, inside a tiny pocket dimension. This was created long ago by Arbos Hrull, an archwizard of great skill and talent. The Hrull family keeps their greatest treasures here, safe from prying eyes. The Hrull family crypts is located in one of these levels, where ghostly Hrull ancestors converse with their still-living descendants.

The levels not hidden in extra-dimensional spaces include many guest chambers two separate kitchens, two dining halls, a ball-room, and quarters for the lesser members of the family. The family often invites merchants and captains to stay at the estate, to impress them with their opulence and wealth. Many trade deals are negotiated in the privacy of the Manor, often taking weeks or months to conclude. The Hrull family are quite patient in their dealings.

The Junction
A network of tunnels, lit by continual light lanterns, connects the eight largest sinkhole docks to one another. The tunnels are wide enough for two carts to pass one another without forcing one or the other to the side. At the nexus point of these tunnels is The Junction. Numerous young lads await at the docks to guide newly arrived crewmen to The Junction for a copper or two. The guides are more useful for gossip and news than their navigation abilities.

The Junction is an open-air bazaar occupying a large sinkhole. The sinkhole is about two hundred feet across and eighty feet deep. The walls are lined with shops, with ramps and stairs leading up to upper floors where more shops may be found. There are four upper floors in addition to the ground floor. The ground floor is a maze of tents, shacks, and booths where all manner of goods from across the Known Spheres are hawked by merchants and peddlers. The pleasant smells of cooked meats and rising breads fills the whole Junction, drawing visitors to ground-floor taverns and small one-man kitchens were meals are cooked right before you.

Security in The Junction is tight, typically at least four wizards with Wands of Paralysis and twice as many armed guards. It used to be might lighter, but wizards were added after an unfortunate incident involving a fleet of flying monkeys, an irate giff, three drunken dwarves, and 10,000 g.p. worth of property damage. Despite what scandalous rumor mongers might tell ye, I had nothing to do with that incident! I was simply in the wrong place at the time the unfortunate event went down and had to flee for my very life from an enraged giant pack lizard spooked by the calamity! Ambra will certainly vouch for me! ’

The Shadow District
The rough part of town is the Shadow District, where a cluster of taller buildings cast a long shadow over the buildings behind it. Most residents shun the Shadow District. No trees will grow here, neither will most plants. The ground is covered in paved streets or mud. While there are few actual thieves operating here, the residents of the district tend to be poor, down on their luck, or outcasts. There are no walls to divide the district from the rest of the city, yet the residents of the two rarely mingle as their walls are social rather than of brick and mortar.

Umberdeep Dock
At a thousand feet across, Umberdeep Dock is the largest sinkhole-dock in Tyme. It drops to a depth of two hundred feet into Radole’s soil and its walls are lined with reinforced walls of stone. A lake and piers at the bottom allows it to handle as many as eight vessels at once although larger vessels will require the space of two vessels. Dock rental rates at a flat fee of 5 g.p. per slot per day. Cargo loading & off-loading costs 1 s.p. per ton, a bargain given the speed, efficiency and proficiency of the dock workers.

Warehouses line the walls of Umberdeep. Warehouse space can be rented at a rate of 1 s.p. per ton per month, paid at the beginning of the month. Twenty individual warehouses surround Umberdeep, each capable of housing hundreds of tons of cargo. Typically these warehouses are half-full with all manner of goods. Steel bars from Krynn are stored near shadowbrough timbers from Toril. The warehouses are guarded, particularly by trained war dogs, but far less so than similar facilities at places such as Bral. Theft is not as great a concern, or threat, on Radole as they do their damnedest to keep so-called ‘undesirables’ out.

The surface can be reached by means of a long ramp that encircles the dock, or through the network of tunnels. The ramp circles Underdeep twice. The tunnels are a much shallower grade, but take much longer. They are well-lit due to innumerable continual light lanterns every hundred feet or so.

The Wasp Nest
About four miles from Tyme, a bit closer to the foothills, is the Wasp Nest. It is a large network of caverns, sinkhole docks, and barracks where the Radole Defense Fleet keeps a small flotilla of wasp ships to defend the city. They keep at least a dozen of these craft here, along with a few larger ships. The troops are well-drilled, yet these men and women have rarely seen combat. Although the Wasp Nest is a military base “off-limits” to civilians, it is surprisingly easy to wander about. Some areas are as heavily guarded as any castle, yet a simple invisibility spell can grant one free access, as can the right writ from a noble. Be warned that the Radole Defense Fleet take a dim view of tourists wandering around their base and will arrest anyone snooping about, so keep get what ye need done swiftly and quietly.

Shops
The Scroll Caddy
Tucked in the corner of Gorm Street and Bakers Street is this little shop that specializes in selling magic scrolls. Most of the scrolls for sale contain utilitarian magic, such as unseen servant, hold portal, and like spells. Scrolls with offensive spells up to and including Cone of Cold are kept behind the counters and must be requested. Protection scrolls are also available. Prices are reasonable and a good way for mages of means to recover spells lost to damaged spellbooks.

Redd’s Meats
Captains looking to purchase dried meats for a long voyage buy in bulk from this large grocer. Salted pork, lizard jerky, sausages, beef haunches, lamb chops, and baskets of hard-boiled eggs can be purchased cheaply. The meat tends to be overly salty but delicious. Barrels of hardtack is also available but only if ye be desperate or don’t like yer crew; the bread tends to be hard, salty, and utterly flavorless.

Trill’s Tallglasses
A fine selection of wines, whiskey, and rum await customers in this shop. Row upon row of wine racks holds an impressive collection of wine. The whiskey and rum section is more basic yet sells a brand of rum called Setting Sun Spice, a particularly sweet rum native to Radole that has one hell of a kick. Prices are on the high side. A bottle of Setting Sun Spice runs 8 g.p. I always make it a habit of picking up a bottle or two when in Tyme.

Taverns
The Fat Giant
The Fat Giant is a cheerful, boisterous tavern that serves a host of hot, spiced meats, warm breads, and goblets full of local beers. It is open all hours of the day, never closing. Look for the sign with a fat, happy giant devouring a leg bone and ye have found the place. The slow-cooked lizardtail brisket is highly recommended, with a side of spiced apples.

The Blind Blink Dog
An unremarkable tavern with creaky, ancient furniture and serves a fair selection of stouts and lagers. It is frequented by sailors, travelers, and farmers. The centerpiece is a stuffed blink dog that keeps watch over the entrance. Regulars have a habit of giving the stuffed animal a pat on the head as they enter.

Inns
The Sleepless Owl
A small, quiet place in the shadow of a larger building, the Sleepless Owl offers a clean bed, a good night’s rest, and a warm breakfast when ye awaken. The proprietors are an elderly couple, Jostill and Ulra, and their fully-grown children. The Sleepless Owl has twelve rooms for rent and can handle 24 guests at a time. The place is always full.

The Lost Star
A rowdy place found in the Shadow District, the Lost Star rents rooms by the hour, if ye take my meaning. Many lovely Ladies of the Night work here, wearing scandalously little. Customers typically arrive masked and by back alleys and well-trodden yet secret avenues, carefully hiding their identities. The Lost Star has many underground chambers where guests can conduct themselves in a manner that would not be approved of by their peers. Locals deny the place even exists, but if ye know the right person and slip a few gold into the correct hands, ye can get accurate directions to the place.

A Gentle Spring
The most noteworthy feature of this inn, located at the base of the hill, is that a natural spring comes to the surface inside the taproom of the inn. A steady, gentle flow of water emerges from the stone wall on one side of the taproom and down a rockbed that directs it down the hall pass the guest rooms before flowing out of the inn and into a small creek. The sound of running water is rather relaxing; the inn has few problems with fights or rowdy customers, and guests report that the best night’s sleep is to be had at A Gentle Spring. Prices are high, however, so be prepared to pay a premium rate for rooms that average to slightly above average.

Wormholes
The Wormholes Inn is located at The Junction. It occupies an upper floor, putting it fairly close to the surface. Wormholes is so named due to the fact that the subterranean halls and chambers resemble the holes left by burrowing purple worms.

The Place
Ramps and stairs lead up to a broad, stone terrace. The entrance to Wormholes is found at the far end of the terrace. The terrace is covered in worn limestone bricks of a light tan coloration. Decorative tiles display a mosaic purple worm splayed across the entire landing. Entrance to Wormholes is gained by a broad, circular hallway, twenty feet across and twelve feet high. A low roar of tavern noise echoes down the hallway. The forty-foot long tunnel leads to the taproom of the inn.

There are no doors closing off the taproom from the terrace; Wormholes is open all hours of the day. Indeed, since Radole lacks days and nights in the traditional sense; most large businesses such as Wormholes remain open around the clock. There are two staff shifts, a “day staff” and a “night staff”, such as it were, although these are merely first and second shift to Radolians. Be warned that both shifts include at least two bouncers to deal with troublemakers. The taproom has a dozen large tables, each seating eight, and ten six-person booths along the walls. The taproom is dimly lit, with lanterns at each of the four corners. Behind the bar is a double door leading to the kitchen, where food is prepared and brought to guests by saucy waitresses.

Beyond the taproom is three round, dimly lit corridors leading to the rooms for rent. The tunnels twist to dampen the noise from the taproom. Rooms are single or double occupancy, with double occupancy rooms being much larger. Each room has one or two cots, a small table and chair, a wardrobe, and a small, dim continual light lantern to illuminate the otherwise pitch-black room. The lantern can be shuttered to the comfort of the occupants. At the far end of each hall is a commons room, which has cots enough to sleep ten. Washrooms for men and women are available off each commons, with private baths as well steam rooms for relaxing.

The Prospect
The rooms are spacious for an inn of this size, partially to off-set the claustrophobic nature of being underground. The walls are painted in colorful murals of above-ground scenes from across Radole. Some rooms, which can be requested by guests, depict Radole’s Sunside or Nightside, with imagery of a great rock desert or night-cloaked glaciers. The staff is competent in keeping rooms clean, sheets fresh, and guests happy.

The Provender
All manner of cooked meats and gravy-soaked roasts can be had here, served with sides of boiled or steamed vegetables, half-loaves of bread, or even thin soup. The house specialty is Worms. This long, thick pasta is shaped and rolled to resemble a worm, and then stuffed with ricotta cheese and covered in white cheese shreds. Served in threes, Worms is quite filling for even a large, hungry man. It is considered the house specialty.

Wormholes has a wide variety of liberations available, from ale and beers to a selection of wines that would make any bartender on Bral envious. The imports vary greatly and are nigh impossible to list save for Elverquist out of Evermeet, which the bartenders have a steady supply. This makes Wormholes quite popular with the elves, naturally.

The Prices
Single occupancy rooms will cost you 2 g.p. per night. Double-occupancy rooms can be had for 3 g.p. A cot in one of the commons runs 8 s.p. Wormholes has a safe within which one can have valuables stored, for a fee of 2 c.p. per night per item (no larger than the size of the innkeeper’s fist). A bath will run 5 c.p. while the steam rooms are 1 s.p. per hour.
Meals run about 6 s.p. while a plate of Worms will cost 1 g.p. Beer and ale are 5 c.p. per tankard.

Tavern Lore
Legend holds that a purple worm once laired in the very spot where Wormholes now sits. The creature was slain by one Byroon Wormslayer, who retired shortly thereafter and claimed the lair to build his inn. The lair is said to have been much more extensive in those days, with many more side passages and chambers. These were bricked over and lost. Some claim that these back passages hide Byroon’s amassed fortune in gold and silver from his days as an adventurer.

The back passages are the center to all manner of rumor and gossip-mongering. Some claim that secret doors grant the proprietor access to all of the rooms; that a huge dungeon complex lays just beyond certain closed doors or curiously plastered walls. Certainly there are tales of patrons going missing, spirited away by some horror lurking in those dungeons. Having stayed in Wormholes several times, there is some merit to these rumors but they are overblown. Some areas are indeed bricked off, but these lead to cellars and storerooms. There are a few curious markings a skilled dungeon delver might pick up on, so do not discount the wild rumors entirely.

Of more solid tales, the pirate Barnacle Bix was discovered here, murdered in her bed. The old star hag’s throat had been cut, her pockets emptied, and the room ransacked. The culprits were never discovered leading to all manner of speculations that she was carrying a star chart leading to a treasure of unimaginable value. For months afterwards guests would request her old room, to search for clues missed by previous occupants. Searchers would damage furniture and the walls in their hunt for some lost star chart, until the proprietor had to lock the room up, demolish it entirely, and build a whole new room to prevent further damage.


Eskiir
The city of Eskiir is built on a large, round hill over five miles across and rising to a height of about nine hundred feet. The hill is crowned by a great palace of crystal and stone that somehow bends the light so that the entire hill receives sunlight, that no part of the hill is cast in the shadow of taller buildings. The city occupies the upper half of the hill, while the lower slopes are devoted to an impressive system of terrace farms. The soil here is some of the most fertile in all of Winterspace, and the crop yields are impressive. Harvest is year-round.

Eskiir sits at the center of a wide, broad valley of fertile lands. At the head of the valley is a gap through the Shieldwall Mountains. The gap is very high in the mountains and was deliberately constructed to allow a glacier to slowly flow into the valley. Where the glacier touches sunlight, it begins to melt, sending a steady stream of clean, fresh water into a network of canals to irrigate the nearby farms.

The Nezzym family dominates Eskiir. Much like the Hrull family, Nezzym is a family of merchant-wizards. The Nezzym have made trade in magic their primary interest, and through their efforts have trained many mages to join their ranks. Prospective helmsmen and wizards are sent from other cities to Eskiir for magical training, as the Sunrise University is the best school for higher magical learning on Radole. In return for their magical education, mages must serve in the Radole Defense Fleet for a period of no less than two decades. Those unattached to a particular merchant family likely remain in Eskiir in service of the Nezzym.

Eskiirites consider themselves cultured and educated, even by Radollian standards. Free education is offered to all city residents and even to farmhand children when their chores allow. As a result, every resident in the city and the greater valley is literate. Many can speak two or more languages, with the racial languages of elves and dwarves being most popular. Visitors can sometimes even hear people chatting in Suloise, Thorass, and even Istarian. Ancient foreign languages seem to be a passion for the natives, with courses offered at the Sunrise University.

Eskiir is less welcoming of off-world visitors than Tyme, and this is no more evident in that the docks are far less extensive. Small, ground-landing craft will find a number of places to set down, as all roofs in Eskiir are flat and many buildings are large enough to allow ships as large as wasps to land. Rooftop landing docks are marked with bright, colorful paints of great bullseyes surrounded by arcane glyphs that translate into “Welcome”. Private docks are marked with glyphs that translate as “Private Use Only”; landing in a private dock can result in arrest, so ye be warned. Dock fees vary slightly but on average are 5 s.p. per day. It is not unusual to see two dozen or more wasps, dragonflies, damselflies, and wreckboats sitting on these rooftop docks. Use of cranes and dock workers can be rented at a rate of 10 g.p. per day.

Larger vessels and those that require water-landing may do so at a dock about five miles from the city, up the valley in a small lake and field. Facilities are crude, with only two cranes to allow off-loading and loading of cargo, one for water craft and one for ground-landing craft. These can be rented for 2 g.p. per hour, and once loading is complete the ship must relocate so the next ship can use the cranes. Mages are on-hand with Mending magic to repair snapped ropes or other damage to the cranes to keep them running at a constant pace. While the facilities are limited, the Eskiirites run an efficient operation. Transport of goods to and from the city is handled by wagon. Or more precisely, magically floating barges pulled by teams of splendid milk-white Clydesdale horses. These can be rented for 1 s.p. per ton of cargo and can haul up to 10 tons of cargo. Carriage rides run 2 s.p. a person, also pulled by teams of Clydesdales. Never a smoother carriage ride I have ever had. The trip takes about half an hour, and the drivers offer a complementary glass of wine for the trip.

When in Eskiir, always mind ye business, and keep yer nose out of trouble. See, there be a lot of mages in Eskiir. And by a lot, I mean ye can’t cast a stone in the city without hitting one or two. Ye never know when one is scrutinizing ye with all manner of divination spells or scanning yer thoughts with ESP and the like. Those deemed “suspicious” are watched by means of crystal balls, clairvoyance, and clairaudience spells. And there are more than a few mages who will offer their magical services to investigate any supposed wrong-doing, to a frightening level.

The city of Eskiir is a clean city with few run-down areas. Mending magic is used to vanquish age-old decay and keeps the city appearing almost newly built. Even poorer sections are well-maintained as mages often volunteer their magic to repair buildings, clothes, and keep the city clean. This sense of civic duty pervades throughout all levels of society, from the beggar to the plump merchant mage.

Landmarks
Prism Peak Castle
Perched atop the hill that Eskiir is built on, Prism Peak Castle illuminates the entire hill so no part of the hill is ever cast in shadows. The Castle is the ancestral home of the Nezzym family and the seat of their power. It is ancient beyond Radollian history; it certainly was not built by human or demi-human hands. Strange magic pervades through the Castle, with doors that open to whole other dimensions, impossibly long hallways, and stairs that spiral into demi-planes. It is a confounding labyrinth that can drive lesser individuals to insanity. Yet somehow the Nezzym have explored it and mastered its secrets. Or so they claim. On occasion, the Nezzym hire explorers and adventurers to delve into some newly discovered portal or pocket dimension. Such expeditions pay well, and there is no telling what manner of treasure ye might find! The Nezzym send along at least one of their number on these expeditions, to record all and secure the choicest loot for the family. The Nezzym do pay well, often in magic items, so grumbling about their loot hoarding is negated by fancy magical swords, wands, and sacks of gold and jewels.

Library of Eskiir
One of the largest structures in Eskiir, aside from Prism Peak Castle is the Library of Eskiir. Here residents can check out books for a small fee, depending on the value of the book. Novella and the guidebooks carry a 1 c.p. fee, while ancient tomes may require a 100 g.p. fee or more. Non-residents can browse books for a much steeper fee, typically ten times more than what citizens pay, and cannot take the book out of the Library. I hear citizens of exemplary status may access the library’s collection of spellbooks and magical tomes used for spell research.

Sunrise University
Perhaps the finest school for higher magical education in Winterspace, the Sunrise University is a sprawling campus. It has four lecture halls, two dormitories, and perhaps a dozen ancillary buildings. The staff is mostly lesser Nezzym family members, distant cousins and spouses of more prominent members. Students can learn the basics of magic, while graduates can return to learn new spells and new fields of magic. Entry is limited to Radollians only; off-worlders cannot apply. Natives of Winterspace descended from Radollian colonists, particularly those from the moons of Ryme, can apply if they are sponsored by one of the merchant families.

Monstrous Museum
A grand structure of marble and granite, the Monstrous Museum holds a vast collection of stuffed monsters on display in natural-looking dioramas. Illusions are employed to make these displays more life-like and immersive. Here one can find wings with standard monsters such as cockatrice, minotaurs, griffons, owlbears, mimics, a gelatinous cube and the like next to more exotic and rare creatures such as chasme, draconians, kech, doc cu’o’c, a juvenile topaz dragon, and other more exotic creatures. Over one hundred monsters are on display at any given time, with many more stored in the basement. There is a 1 s.p. entrance fee, 1 c.p. for children. The Monstrous Museum is popular on holidays and rest days, particularly for children.

Museum Historica
The other major museum in Eskiir displays all manner of historical artifacts from Winterspace’s past, as well as relics from other worlds. Behind glass walls are displayed ice mummies from the Shieldwall Mountains, the crumbling tools of the ancients who created Radole, an original draft of the Armistice peace treaty penned by Aldyn Leafbower, canopic jars from Mulhorand, a suit of Istarian armor, and a stone statue recovered from the Dry Steppes are some of the more interesting artifacts on display. The entrance fee is 2 s.p. for adults and 3 c.p. for children. The museum is always on the lookout for more artifacts for display and pays handsomely.

Eskiir City Zoo
The City Zoo of Eskiir has habitats for hundreds of animals from many distant worlds. Only “normal”, non-magical beasts are put on display. Herds of zebra, gazelle, moose, mammoths, and more roam a huge pen. The great cats and wild wolves compound is particularly popular with children. The residents seem fascinated by natural animals, with a distinct dislike of magical beasts. An entry fee of 2 s.p. per person, 2 c.p. per child is enforced. Zoo officials often hire off-worlders to procure new beasts for display. I once brought them a pair of camels for 500 g.p.!

Shops
Eskiir is a vast city, equal or perhaps even greater in size to Tyme, so a full accounting of every shop is impossible for a guidebook of this nature. Below is a listing of some of the most noteworthy shops that may interest travelers. There are many more shops scattered throughout the city.

Gifts of the Stars
Not all magic items are powerful weapons, horns of blasting, or magical thrones that allow ships to travel the stars. Some are trinkets given minor enchantments to ease one’s life. Gifts of the Stars sell such items. Here, one can find fans that hover at head-height, eternally fanning the owner, candles that never extinguish or burn out, flasks that refill once a day with whiskey, mechanical songbirds tokens that drive away all normal insects from a persons’ presence, bedrolls that become cots when unrolled, and much more. Gifts of the Stars is a small shop, stuffed with all manner of such trinkets for sale. The shopkeeper is one Chan Estar, an elderly widower bent with age but a skilled artificer.

Mystic’s Scrolls
Mystic’s Scrolls is one of three shops that sell scrolls in the city. What makes Mystic’s stand out is a wide selection of spells, from humble cantrips all the way up to Guards and Wards. The shop has a glass window front with various illusions displaying images of knights and wizards defeating dragons in faraway lands. There is a small sitting room where customers wait to be helped by the staff. Scrolls are kept in the back; the staff will take requests for particular spells before disappearing into the back. A few minutes later the salesman will return with one or more scrolls with the requested spells. The customer can peruse the scrolls briefly before completing the purchase.

The Alchemists’ Shack
Located near the bottom of the hill, and downwind of most residences, is the Alchemists’ Shack. The Shack is actually three structures. The first is a sturdily built, fieldstone building that shows signs of fire damage. This is where potions are brewed, which can go awry in destructive ways. A second building is a storehouse for chemicals and reagents used in brewing. The final is the actual Alchemists’ Shack, where potions can be purchase. Most potions for sale are simple remedies for hair loss, weight loss, love potions, and potency potions. These generally sell for 10 g.p. to 100 g.p. More powerful concoctions grant one power over beasts, birds, giants, humanoids, and the like, with others can turn one invisible, cause them to grow or shrink in size for a time, or even grant enormous strength and battle prowess. These are much more expensive, with some potions costing in upwards of 1,000 g.p. or more.

Magisters and Tailors
When travelling about Eskiir, it be best to look ye best, and the finest garments are to be had at Magisters and Tailors. A staff of five master tailors and their assistants are always around to serve customers. Be it purchasing garments off the shelf, or having clothes custom-made, the tailors here deal in only the finest materials. If ye have the coin, an outfit from Magisters and Tailors will always make ye stand out from the crowd. Be warned that while stylish, it can draw unwanted eyes upon ye, particularly if ye be an off-worlder that the natives have a notion to eyeball and want to lock up for whatever trumped up charges.

Dragonfire Staffs and Canes
While a simple quarterstaff may seem to be a simple piece of equipment, in Eskiir, it has become a fashionable accessory. Even commoners make use of simple walking sticks. For the wealthy, staffs are a status symbol, the more elaborate and beautiful, the better. The staffs sold in this little shop are not mere sticks of wood, but richly decorated and intricately carved. Dragons, demons, and all manner of monsters and creatures, from the beautiful to grotesque are all available. The staffs are not enchanted in any way, although many wizards purchase staffs here with the intent to enchant them later. Staffs range in price from 1 s.p. for the simplest of walking sticks to 1,250 g.p. for elaborately decorated staffs made of exotic woods.

Greenbind Books
A high literacy rate in Eskiir creates a high demand for books. Blank ledgers are highly desired by shopkeepers, novels and religious texts are coveted by common citizens, and spellbooks, both blank and those containing spells, are in high demand by spellcasters. Greenbind is a very large structure, three stories tall with a central open-air scribing area. The store is always busy and requires a large staff of scribes, meticulously copying texts. Scribes can be hired to copy documents or tomes at a rate of 5 c.p. per page for non-magical texts, and 5 g.p. per page for magical texts.

Taverns
Candlebright
Favored by locals, Candlebright is a clean, well-run establishment. It has a reputation for being boring, but only to travelers. The locals consider it the “best kept secret” in Eskiir. It is frequented by some of Eskiir’s most powerful mages, who are wont to play magical pranks on one another for the amusement of the crowd. The more elaborate the prank, the better. These pranks are rarely, if ever, malicious or humiliating, and very often wizards prank themselves in elaborate schemes to place the blame on someone else. A frequent game involves an elaborate prank is played, with clues enough for the patrons to determine the prankster once said patrons have compared notes. When the prankster is finally exposed, he or she buys a round of drinks for everyone in the bar, and dinner for the target of their prank. Many courtships begin with this game.

An Eternal Sunset
More widely known of Eskiir’s taverns, An Eternal Sunset is most famous for its open-air bar with tables set to enjoy a panoramic view of Radole. Haunches of meat roast on skewers over an open flame, spiced with imported herbs and oils. Slices of spiced meat are served with seasoned vegetables and honeyed breads, with a desert of sugared fruits. The beverage menu is serviceable with a limited selection of ales, beers, and meads and a larger selection of wines. Prices are high but the food is worth the coin.

Inns
A Restful Shadow
Located in the lower part of the city, A Restful Shadow is built between three large buildings and topped with a rooftop dock that connects with the surrounding buildings. The alley surrounding the building is thus very dark, a stark contrast to the street. The inn itself is cool and dimly lit, where a weary soul can get a rest under night-like conditions. No light source greater than a candle is permitted. It is as much for the comfort of the guests as to hide the tacky décor. A night’s stay runs about 4 s.p. The rooms are small, with narrow, heavily curtained windows, and comfortable beds.

Slumbering Shepherd
A good place to get a hot meal, a warm bath, and a good night’s sleep for a reasonable rate describes the Slumbering Shepherd. The Inn has several rooms for rent, from single occupancy to one that sleeps four in bunk beds. The proprietor is one Salem Winterlore, a fussy old lady who has a habit of spying on her guests to make sure they are not up to anything nefarious. Serving guests freshly baked cookies is a passion of hers. Rooms are cheap, costing about 2 s.p. for a night’s stay and another 3 s.p. for meals. Be warned that Salem is an accomplished mage in her own right and is not afraid to use it on guests she suspects are up to no good. She has two lovely daughters, likewise trained in magic, to aide her in running the inn.

A Displaced Beast
A sign with a stylized displacer beast hangs over the door to this inn. Unnervingly, a tamed displacer beast, named Raj, wanders the inn, unhindered and unleashed. I know not what magic was used to tame the beast, but Raj is as gentle as a newborn kitten and rather enjoys having his head scratched by guests. He also has a habit of sneaking into guest rooms to snuggle up to guests while they sleep. More than one guest has awoken to discover the large cat sleeping in their bed. A Displaced Beast offers comfortable beds and warm meals. Aside from the tamed displacer beast, it is an otherwise unremarkable inn.

Four Owlbears and a Bed
Famed across the Ribbon, this establishment is known for four stuffed owlbears occupying four niches in the main taproom. At random times, one or more owlbears will animate and wander around the taproom. Sometimes they deliver drink, at other times they dance merrily for the amusement of the patrons, and at others they let out fearsome roars before returning to their niches. It is quite a spectacle to behold.

The Place
This inn is a large, three-story structure near the city’s market. A battered, ancient sign of four owlbears hangs over the main entrance, a grand entry with two passages. The passage to the right leads to the taproom in the basement. The stairs are wide and lined with stone statues of strange, exotic creatures. To the left is a lobby where guests can rent rooms in the main structure. The inn never closes; guests come and go at all hours of the never-ending day of Radole.

The taproom is large and airy, with a 12’ tall ceiling. There is a large bar on a raised platform, surrounded by dozens of stools. Depending on the shift, either a fat, jovial man named Rendor mans the bar, or his son Threndor, a young ladies-man. The taproom is generously sized and can accommodate perhaps a hundred. Doors near the rear lead to the kitchens, and through which wafts of spiced foods originate. In niches along the walls are the four ubiquitous owlbears, frozen in fierce poses. The taproom is always packed, with nary an empty chair to be had. As soon as one guest leaves, the staff swiftly sets to work cleaning the spot for a new guest. The wait staff dresses as hardy adventurers, albeit in costume more suited for showing skin than fighting monsters. With a few smooth words and a coin or two, ye can certainly convince them to go on a little “adventure” with ye.
At random times, one or more owlbear will animate. Sometimes, they merely wander about until returning to their niche. At others they dance merrily through the taproom, to the delight of guests. And at others, they growl and snarl, rising on their hind legs! The waitresses draw their gold-plated weapons and “do battle” with the owlbears, until they subdue the creatures and force them back into their niches. The shows are quite spectacular and a sight to behold. I met one lovely waitress, Fellona, when a swipe of a paw sent her into my lap. She spent the rest of the night apologizing for her clumsiness .

There are three floors of rooms. The ground floor has private bathing rooms, wash rooms, staff quarters, and storerooms. The stairs leading to the guest rooms have large stained-glass windows that cast ever-changing shadows on the wall, a trick of light and illusion. Every room has a large window that provides all the light needed; heavy curtains can be drawn to darken a room to a twilight-like darkness. Each floor has a small sitting room where guests can gather and gossip, away from the roar of the taproom.

The Prospect
The rooms of Four Owlbears and a bed all have a single bed, either single or double for one or two guests, a small table, a comfortable chair, and a large chest within which guests can lock personal belongings. Walls are covered in murals so life-like they can appear to move if ye stare at them long enough. They are magical if detected for, and are likely some minor illusion. Each room has different illusions, ranging from bright and colorful to dark and foreboding. Owlbear-skin rugs cover the floor. Rooms are cleaned and bedding changed twice weekly.

The Provender
The menu at Four Owlbears is pretty extensive, offering a wide range of meats, cooked vegetables, and stews for sale. The house specialty is Four Eggs and a Steak. Four eggs are fried and served with a steak, cooked with a mix of herbs and imported spices. A haunch of bread is offered as a side. Another specialty is Iron Rations, a plate of “adventurer” food in the form of nuts, salted meats, a hard bread, and cheese. The meat and bread are served hot, and the faire is far better than any iron rations I’ve ever consumed while exploring a dungeon!

To wash down yer meal, the Four Owlbears offers a selection of ales, beers, and wines. The wines are mostly domestics with a few imports from places across the Radiant Triangle. I recommend a local brand known as Blackvine Rise, which has a dark violet coloration and a strong kick. It complements the meals quite well.

The Prices
Rooms can be rented at a rate of 3 g.p. per ‘stay’, with a stay amounting to a 24-hour period. Rooms with double-sized beds cost 5 g.p. per stay. There is no commons. Hot baths run 1 s.p. and massages run 1 g.p. Laundry services are available at the rate of 4 c.p. per basket-load.

Meals typically cost 5 s.p. per plate, with side items typically costing 2-3 c.p. per item. Four Eggs and a Steak will cost ye 7 s.p. while Iron Rations cost 6 s.p. Beer and ale are 4 c.p. per tankard. A tallglass of wine will cost ye 2 g.p. and a bottle with enough for four glasses costs 6 g.p. Blackvine is sold by the bottle and costs 9 g.p.

Tavern Lore
The owlbears occupying the taproom are said to have been slain by the founder of the inn during her younger, adventuring days. She had the creatures stuffed and then animated with potent spells. That adventuress went by the name Wulgrim the Wild, a firebrand of a wizard according to tales. She retired a rich woman, and built the inn with her gains. She dwelled elsewhere in the in the city, leaving the operations of the inn to her apprentices. This was centuries ago, and Wulgrim and all of her apprentices are long dead. The inn has been passed down through her family through many generations.

For an inn so ancient, there is no end of legends and tales centered on it. The most exotic is the legend that the Four Owlbears is built atop a lich’s crypt, which awoke and took great offense that his final resting place sat below a rowdy inn! The creature appeared in the taproom, and before it could unleash many of its killing spells, it was set upon by half a dozen sword-armed waitresses and twice as many visiting adventurers! The supposed crypt was never discovered, despite excavations to discover its location.

Another tale involves the Tome of the Dragon, a book rumored to hold potent and forbidden spells and crafted from the hide of a mithril dragon, was discovered to be in the possession of guest at the inn. The unknown guest was set upon by agents from faraway locations, including other spheres, all in a bid to secure the tome for their own ends. What began as a magical scuffle with a thief turned into a three-day siege (by standard time, of course!), with spies, assassins, and thieves roaming the streets in search of the tome, fighting to authorities at bay while they tried to slay the owner and his many bodyguards and companions. Dozens were left dead in the streets, including the unnamed guest, and the Tome stolen. To where it disappeared, none can say.
Of more recent times, the inn has become host to regular meetings of the Eternal Society, a club for Eskiir’s elite mages. The Society numbers probably twenty or so last I heard, including many prominent businessmen. The Society is mostly harmless, trading spells and trinkets. Last time I visited Eskiir, however, there were some dark rumors whispered. Some fear that the Society was delving into dark arts. The rumors claim that Society members were dabbling in necromancy and summoning other planar creatures of a less-than-savory nature. Given Radole’s nature and how its people shun those they deem guilty of any crime, I think my contacts were ribbing me, some manner of prank or joke at my expense .
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night_druid
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:39 pm

Ryme

THE VITALS
NAME: Ryme
TYPE: Air body
SHAPE: Spherical
SIZE: F
SATELLITES: 8
DAY LENGTH: 12 hours
YEAR LENGTH: 420 days
POPULATION: Humans, demi-humans


Undiin
Icy Undiin is the third of Ryme’s major moons. It is about 2,100 miles in diameter with a 17-hour day and orbits Ryme every 8 days. The moon is a uniform white orb, with a slight bluish tinge. There are no craters or mountains to break up the world-spanning glacier that covers the surface. A few crevasses in the glacier lead to its interior.

The atmosphere of Undiin is very thin. It is akin to high altitude on terrestrial worlds, where the lack of air can cause dizziness and sickness . What’s more, the atmosphere clings to the surface. The breathable portion rises to an altitude of no more than 25’ feet! Landing on the surface in anything other than a rowboat can be extremely hazardous!

The surface is a swirling vortex of cold fog and mist. Visibility is only about twenty feet in the best of times, and often the fog is visibility is reduced to zero. Warm furs and thick boots are recommended as the biting cold will sap strength from ye bones in quick order. Keep weapons at hand, as fierce yeti and white puddings haunt the fog-cloaked plains. What these creatures survive on, aside from lost wanderers, is beyond me.

A glacier world, with a thin atmosphere, and haunted by nasty creatures does not seem inviting, yet its what’s under the ice that draws visitors to Undiin. See, the planet-spanning glacier really floats atop a mile-deep ocean. Whole kingdoms of fish-folk are down there, constantly warring with one another and are more than willing to trade with off-worlders for weapons, armor, and any other advantage they can secure. These wars are frequent and fierce, yet seen as necessary for survival of the whole. The races breed rapidly, and there is only so much ocean to go around. Thus, territorial wars are common.

The ocean is divided into a patchwork of duchies, baronies, and fiefs of mermen, tritons, locathah, marine genasi, and sea elves with bands of merrow, sahaugin, and scrag & koalinth dwelling in deep trenches at the fringes of civilization. The civilized races hold the merrow in particular hatred, and will attack them on sight. They fight in a frenzied state until either they or the merrow are dead. Nobody knows the source of this hatred , and the natives will not speak of it.

In theory, the entire moon is one kingdom ruled by a merman emperor, but the position is ceremonial with little power. The Emperor has little authority beyond the borders of his own throne-city, and in truth his authority carries little weight beyond the palace walls.

The glacier that covers the ocean is about a mile deep, making travel into the ocean a major undertaking. Yet there are places where the ice is thinner, and cities have been built to allow merchants and mercenaries to trade with the sea races. These cities appear to be clusters of great bubbles of ice on the surface, some spanning a mile. Entry is gained by flying into vast crevasses to doors under the bubbles. There are four such cities on Undiin, and about a dozen lesser strongholds. The domes somehow keep air inside the cities, making conditions much more agreeable . The domes are generally 100’ thick and so hard that only the breath from a red dragon can melt the ice.

The cities are small, the largest with only twenty thousand permanent residents, and the smallest about half that. The smaller strongholds are smaller than a thousand residents; a few are the private residences of powerful wizards looking for privacy to conduct research. The cities, in rank of largest to smallest, are Igoo, Icecap, Snowblind Domes, and Glacierhead. The domes that make up the cities are ancient; the manner of their creation is unknown to anybody in Winterspace. Scuttlebutt links them to the Radiant Empire, but I scoff at such claims. Sages are all too eager to credit that mythical empire with anything ancient that the sages cannot explain.

Igoo
The city-state of Igoo is the largest surface city on Undiin, although it pales in comparison to some of the cities beneath the waves.

Icecap
The city of Icecap is quite a sight to behold. It sits upon a low plateau, about twenty feet above the surrounding plain, capped by five magnificent domes. Entry is gained by a rift running alongside the plateau, with wide openings leading to vast docking caverns where a dozen ships of tradesman size or smaller can dock. There is no lagoon, however, so water-landing craft must rent huge blocks to dock with. The main entry is blocked by an enormous metal door that takes two minutes to open and close. The doors keep the interior at least tolerable.

The city of Icecap is the joint venture of the Red Sun, Stardeep, and Wildjammer trade cartels, working with several deep-water cartels to bring wildspace goods to the residents of Undiir’s ocean. In exchange fish, krill, crab, mollusks, ink, seaweed, and toxins are exported. These commodities are rare in Winterspace and highly prized on Radole in particular.

Icecap is a purely mercantile city, unwelcoming to visitors. See, the city operates its own fleet of ships, mostly modified ground-landing lampreys, dragonflies, and wasps. Other ships are not particularly welcomed, and renting space for larger ships is rather expensive. Most of the city is “off-limits” to visitors; the most people will see is the dock cavern and the “foreign dome”. The four other domes are off-limits to visitors, aside from very special magical tokens. These tokens are only granted to those hired by the merchants. They are always on the lookout for privateers and those captains who are capable of getting certain cargo past customs without attracting too much attention.

The city has five large domes, as I mentioned above. The largest is the so-called Foreigner Dome, which has several inns, taverns, and shops to sell goods to captains and crews of ships not directly owned by the merchants. There is actually a second Foreigner Dome, but this one is flooded and known as the Sea Dome. This dome is much like the air-filled Foreigner Dome, save that the taverns and inns are designed for aquatic guests rather than air-breathers. The Sea Dome is cold and unpleasant for those not magically protected against the cold.

The Warehouse Dome is just that, a gigantic warehouse. The area teems with workers, hauling in cargo for transport to the ocean below or to load onto ships bound for Radole or beyond. Each house has their own section, blocked off by ice walls. Some areas are protected by walls of solid iron, no doubt summoned magically, warded magically, and guarded around the clock. The merchants keep their most valuable prizes in there, be it exotic spices, heaps of pearls, bottles of fine wine, important documents, and the like. The guards are very watchful; robbing one of these vaults takes a daring and skilled thief.

The Workers’ Dome is filled with barracks for workers to rest between shifts. There are company stores, where goods can be purchased. Be warned! The biggest thieves in all of Winterspace inhabit those stores, let me tell you! The prices they charge are outrageous! Everything from clothes to food and ale are twice what they charge at Bral. Of course, this is well beyond most laborers’ salary, forcing them into debt. Their debt can be worked off by working for the merchants. And the merchants own the only stores available for the workers to purchase from, driving them further into debt. It is slavery in all but name, trapping the poor souls in a never-ending cycle of debt and work. Debt can be passed onto children, who become indentured servants to the merchants.

The Merchant Dome is where the merchants live. Unlike the squalor of the Workers’ Dome, the Merchant Dome is quite luxurious. “Luxurious” is perhaps a bit strong; yer not going to find tree-lined parks or bubbling fountains here. If the merchants have coin enough for those sorts of luxuries, they surely are not going to spend it here! The Merchant Dome is the smallest of the domes, with modest-sized cottages for personal residences. Several are furnished yet vacant, for use by visiting captains, agents, and members of the merchant families who are not permanent residents. Each merchant has at least one or two servants, typically a butler and a cook/maid. There is also a special steam-bath where much business and scheming is conducted.

Stores
Hoss’s General Goods
This store is perhaps the largest collection of oddball equipment you can find on Undiin. Coils of rope can be found next to boots and under halberds, swords are casually sold out of barrels (also for sale), and anchors sit under shelves of breeches. The whole store is a cluttered mess. Yet if you need something, Hoss is more likely than not to have it. Prices are high, though.

Inns
The Comatose Yeti
A fully stuffed yeti greets visitors to the Comatose Yeti. It is enchanted with many permanent magic mouth spells, triggered by questions asked of the yeti to provide information about the inn and Icecap in general. The rooms are cold but the beds piled with furs to keep guests warm. Meals of seaweed and uncooked fish can be purchased at a small taproom at the front of the inn.

Taverns
The Cracked Crab
One of the best taverns found in the Foreign Dome is the Cracked Crab. The tavern is famous for its steamed buttered crabs, which are served by a trio of tall, blonde serving wenches in furs. The cook is a fat, jovial locathah named Red Eye Jack. A good meal will run in upwards of 20 g.p. between a generous serving of crab legs, steamed corn on the cob, and soft biscuits. The selection of alcoholic beverages is limited, but yer not walking away hungry.

The Three Clawed Lobster
The back of this tavern is devoted to an enormous aquarium, with glasteel walls and streams of bubbles rising from the rocks. It is home to the famous Three Clawed Lobster, from which the tavern takes its name. The lobster indeed has three claws, with the third rising from its back, and each is big enough to cut a halfling in half! The lobster is known as Old Tom and said to be a thousand years old.

Snowblind Domes
The city of Snowblind Domes is a city in constant turmoil. Each dome acts as its own independent town, with access between the domes controlled by militias and guards. Of course, every few months a new group boils up from the ocean below, upsetting the balance. Every new group wants their slice of the city, and since there is only so much city to go around, they try to take theirs by bloody force. These little invasions fail most of the time. Yet even in failure, they can be disruptive, weakening one enclave just enough for it to be taken over by a neighbor. Visitors best be wary, lest the dome they are staying at becomes a war-zone! Merchants and casual visitors as a whole tend to avoid Snowblind Domes.

For some unfathomable reason, Snowblind Domes is seen as both a sanctuary and colony by the undersea folk. Unfortunately, nobody can really agree on who should be in charge, or who can live in the city. So every few months, some group, be it refugees, pilgrims, a wealthy merchant, a displaced nobleman and his retainers, or even a large band of outlaws arrives to claim a piece of the city for themselves. For a city already crowded beyond the limits of what it can hold, and without any real way to expand, the established folk fight back, violently.

The city is largely flooded, thanks to unknown, ancient magic that keeps certain areas warm enough for vast lagoons of cold water to form. Connecting tunnels are likewise flooded; there is actually very little of the city that is not flooded. The non-flooded portions are highly prized “visitor districts” where ships can dock, merchants can hawk their wares, and inns and taverns sell their services to off-worlders.

The city consists of a mere three large domes and a vast complex of underwater caves. The domes are air-filled, with large, deep lagoons that can hold up to four hammership-sized vessels each. Each has their own entrance for ships to enter and leave. The air-filled portions are jammed with shops, inns, taverns, and housing for the non-aquatic races, with structures stacked on top of one another. The scene is quite chaotic with ramps connecting various levels and rope bridges spanning alleys and roads. Here tritons rub elbows with sea elves and locathah, merrow, koalinth, and marine genasi. Of air-breathers, humans and elves are most common, with a fair number of halflings as well. Many are mercenaries trained in underwater combat. The wizard Athon Kulebright operates a company that hires out mercenaries to the many undersea factions. Athon uses polymorph spells to transform his troops into water-breathers, allowing them to partake in the petty wars. His men are highly skilled and command a high price of 1,000 g.p. for a squad of 10 for a month. From what I had seen, they are well worth the price.

With no real central authority, the overcrowding conditions leave much of the city in squalor. A few wealthy individuals, such as aforementioned Athon, dwell in comfort and luxury. Most are left to fight over the scraps. Brawls are common; best be prepared for a fight at any given moment.

Be wary that the city is run by several competing thieves’ groups. On my last visit there were eight; the number varies anywhere from as few as four to as many as ten. The guilds are constantly warring over territory and liberating civilians of their burdensome possessions. It is not uncommon for off-worlders to find themselves in the middle of territorial clashes between two or even three separate groups, having to fight through throngs of rogues to get someplace safe. Best course of action is to avoid tight alleys and large crowds. Unfortunately, both are in abundance in Snowblind Domes.

Inns
Fishheads
This maze-like inn is common for Snowblind Domes. It sprawls over three levels, with rooms placed in haphazard and sometimes precarious positions. Much of the inn was built from the hull of a salvaged tradesman, with bits of a dragonfly tossed in for good measure. Where Fishheads ends and other businesses and residences begin is hard to say. Fishheads is frequently fought over by competing thief groups; bodies are sometimes left for days before they are collected. Best not to ask what is in the stew, mind you. Guest rooms can be barred from the inside and sometimes have an escape route, handy when a group of angry sea elves clash with some disgruntled tritons and their merrow boss while looking for their wayward and lovely sister. I wouldn’t know from experience, despite what some rumors might suggest. Fishheads, of course, caters to air-breathers.

Fathoms Down
This inn is constructed of nothing but ice blocks. The whole inn is cold, with beds covered in furs so guests do not freeze overnight. The upper floor is devoted to air-breathers, while a lower floor caters to water-breathing guests. The water on the lower level is just above freezing, and deathly cold for a body to be submerged for long. The inn is surprisingly fortified, with few “unexpected guests” showing up to dispute who owns what.

Taverns
Fishflakes
A most unusual establishment, Fishflakes has a raised platform that overlooks the main taproom. See, the taproom is underwater, and caters to water-breathing races. The raised platform is for air-breathers. Meals of seaweed, sushi, shellfish, and calamari are served to both. Food is always prepared raw and uncooked; it takes an iron stomach for most air breathers to dine here. Fishflakes is wildly popular, with a line to get in. Seating in the raised platform area is limited to a mere four tables, while the underwater portion is much more spacious and can seat many more patrons. The establishment is run by a merman named Grimhook, a gnarled veteran with a fishing hook worn in his lower lip as a decoration.



Glacierhead
The smallest city on Undiin’s surface is Glacierhead. Comprised of no less than nine domes, there are two dock-domes with a lagoon in one and a landing pad in the other. The city can handle ships of up to hammership size.

Brokendomes
Not all of the domes on Undiin are claimed. A few have been abandoned for various reasons. Brokendomes is one such place. A cluster of three interlocked domes, Brokendomes has been abandoned for a century. It used to be an elvish outpost, but the elves pulled up stakes for unknown reasons. As they used flitters to enter the domes, entry to Brokendomes can be tricky as the tunnel leading to it has nearly iced over, and at the best of times was only wide enough to allow flitters passage.

Inside the domes is a twisted labyrinth of barracks, armories, kitchens, libraries, and shrines, all in great disrepair. Whatever drove the elves out forced them to do so in a hurry, as much equipment and treasure was left behind, if rumors are to be believed. My own brief expedition to Brokendomes did uncover a few valuables and confirmed the condition of the former base. Our investigation had to be cut short, as two crewmen went missing and were later found horribly murdered. No, not murdered, eviscerated. It was as if they exploded from the inside, their gore flung great distances from their bodies. Worst still is that the gory remains rose up in some undead mockery and attacked! Lost another man to some gelatinous horror that seemed immune to our spells and weapons! With but two men left in my expedition, we escaped that horrible place and left it behind. If you seek to explore Brokendomes, best be prepared for very powerful and dangerous foes.

Deadrat Point
This most disagreeable place to stay is lost in the swirling mists. Of course, it’s hard to turn down an invitation to Deadrat Point in shackles. My own personal stay lasted an entire month before my dear Ambra liberated me. Took her sweet time, she did. I think she wanted me time to stew. I cannot believe she did not take my apologies at face value. How was I to know that the fair lady Ularia was betrothed? To the Governor of Igoo, no less!

Deadrat Point, if you have not surmised already, is a prison. The dwarves who run Deadrat are of a rude, nasty sort who rather enjoy beating prisoners and on occasion toss a couple into the mists to be devoured by hungry yeti that congregate around the prison. In my time as a guest at Deadrat, I counted roughly four hundred fellow guests, twenty non-guard staff, and thirty guards. There is a rotation of the guard every month, I’m told. The guards are typically armed with heavy clubs, short swords for close quarters combat, and heavy crossbows. More than a few of the guards looked to be an unpleasant mix of human and ogre, given their size, the tusks protruding from their lower jaw, and dull wit.

The prison itself is comprised of five domes, joined by tunnels through the ice. The largest is the central dome, with a small clearing for wasps or dragonflies to land. A central pillar of steel-hard ice is hollow and acts as a redoubt for guards during prison riots. Murder holes are carefully placed to provide excellent fields of fire to rain death upon rioting prisoners. Quarters for the guards and staff, the kitchen, and all provisions storage is kept in the central dome. Entry to Deadrat, at least for ships, can only be had through a guarded passage to the central dome, and the passage allows only small vessels to pass through. Any ship longer than 100’ will get hopeless stuck in the winding passage.

The four smaller domes are cell-blocks. Each dome has a central pillar where guards are posted, surrounded by roughly one hundred cells on four separate levels. Cells are disagreeably small, cold, and drafty. More than half the guests were ill during my stay, and when rescued, I had a bit of phenomena that took weeks to shake. Some cells are large enough to house three prisoners, most are single occupancy. Access is by means of stout wooden doors that have a nasty habit of freezing shut. Cold, hard biscuits and terribly watered down grog is passed through a small slit in the door. Chamber pots are emptied weekly. Should illness or the cold claim a prisoner, the bodies are simply tossed down a deep crevasse into the ocean below.

You would perhaps believe Deadrat to house some of the most dangerous criminals in all of Winterspace. You would be mistaken. While many at Deadrat are indeed guilty of murder, robbery, and other acts of unlawful violence on others, a surprising number of prisoners were sent here for getting on the bad side of someone important. Some are debtors, some spoke out against the wrong person, and more than one needed to “disappear” for one reason or another.

For all the security, Deadrat is not the hardest prison to escape from. Guards are terribly lax in their duties and diligence. Should a guess take their leave of Deadrat, they merely escape to a yeti-haunted wasteland of freezing fog. Guards do not give pursuit, as they assume any escape guest would be dead in a matter of hours, at best. Rescue is another matter entirely. A cleverly timed prison riot and a little magic works wonder for liberating a soul from such a wretched place, so long as a ship is waiting for you once you’ve managed to slip pass the guards!

Deadrat is certainly not on my list of sites one should see while staying in Winterspace!

Xarius’ Retreat
Near Undiin’s equator is this small dome is the retreat for the archmage Xarius. Entry is gained like any other dome, by means of a crevasse that leads to an opening under the dome. The dome is large enough to hold two wasps or dragonflies, taking up a third of the dome. The rest is the residences of Xarius and his henchmen, with vast ice caverns under the dome devoted to research laboratories. Xarius is an alchemist, experimenting with the many toxins and reagents available in the ocean under the ice. He often requires components not available on Undiin, so thus requires the services of those willing to procure and deliver said components to him. As many of these components might be considered contraband in some less-civilized ports, he often contracts the services of people willing to ignore such trivial bans. He pays well, too.

To fund his research, Xarius sells all manner of potions and poisons. Healing potions are always popular, and he always has a fairly large stock available. Potions of longevity are also in high demand, particularly with wealthy nobles and merchants with a little more gray in their hair than they like. Most of Xarius’ visitors are agents of these patrons sent to procure a few potions of longevity. The poisons he sells are of interest, of course, to assassins, and he is said to have one or two in his employ to deal with debtors looking to skip payments to him.

When Xarius is in need of components, he will send his agent Ithos to one of the ports. You can typically find Ithos in one the taverns. He favors Icehole in Igoo and Floundering Sailor in Glacierhead. Ithos is a weaselly-looking man, eyes always darting side to side, and talks with a lisp. Two burly brutes flank him at all times. Ithos is an apprentice to Xarius, but I think he has sampled one too many failed potions. He has a peculiar smell about him that is noticeable but not overpowering.




Uialerin
This moonlet is about 240 miles across. It has a 42-hour day and orbits Ryme once every 47 standard days. Up until a few centuries ago, it was just a slightly irregular rock in space, a wilderness. A few elven merchant houses held property on Uialerin, hunting lodges and storage-caverns to stow goods for shipment to other spheres. Everything changed when the elves dumped thousands of prisoners on the world Armistice.

The Elven Fleet, determined to maintain a blockade over Armistice, came in need of a safe harbor. The merchants suddenly found their property to be quite valuable, and overnight they rose from merchants, many of humble means, to nobility. Even lowly servants rode the tide to wealth and power far beyond their birth. A port was built and Uialerin soon appeared on Winterspace star charts as a port of call for elven, and even some human, merchants.

The whole moon is covered in forests of spruce and yew trees, all slow-growing and rarely reaching heights of 40’. At this distance from Aember, there is little seasonal variation. It typically hovers near freezing, sometimes warming enough for snow to melt at the height of noon. Snowfalls are common but light; rarely does the accumulation surpass three feet. In the mountains there are glaciers and snow that never melts. Winds are equal to a soft breeze at best. At night and in the early mornings, dense fogs can form and last until midday.

Whatever dangerous predators that once stalked Uialerin’s forests are long hunted to extinction. Stags, reindeer, boars, hares, and chipmunks survive on the thin grasses and nutrient-rich pinecones. These in turn are hunted by wolves, badgers, wolverines, foxes, and black bears. Elves hunt the woods too. The Elven Fleet treats Uialerin as their private hunting resort for captains and officers on leave. They travel in hunting parties of 10-20, with guides and close friends. Hunts often return with no trophies; the elves hunt for the thrill of the hunt alone and a chance to wander the forest, not to claim the life of an animal. Animals are slain if their numbers have grown too great for the forests to handle.

Aside from the capital city of Calmanar, there are no cities or towns on Uialerin, just hunting lodges and semi-permanent camps. It is hard to say how many elves wander the forests and glades, but I’ve been told that about half of Uialerin’s population resides in Calmanar. Non-elves mostly reside in Calmanar, leaving the forests for the elves, druids, and rangers.

Logging is strictly prohibited. The elves consider it a hanging offense to chop down a living tree. This is in part due to how slowly the trees grow on Uialerin; it takes a full ten times longer for a tree to be fully grown. Any large-scale logging could clear-cut the entire moon in a matter of a few decades, and the forests would take centuries to recover. Only deadwood can be harvested for fires. If timber is needed for construction, the elves employ a method known as “druid logging.” The practice involves cutting a large branch from a tree, with a druid immediately casting spells to heal the tree and encourage unnaturally rapid regrowth. The druid then shapes the branch to the desired form, be to frame a house or patch a hull. This practice, while slow, ensures that the forest remains healthy and undamaged by any logging efforts.

A proper free-spirited individual might think Uialerin a place to avoid, given the presence of so many Elven Fleet types, but you would be mistaken. If you know how to keep a low profile, opportunities abound for enterprising smugglers. See, for all their smugness and arrogance, the elves tend to indulge in less than legal activities when they think nobody is looking, and for those who know how to procure certain luxuries, there is a tidy profit in Uialerin.

Alicorn Glade
A single unicorn dwells on Uialerin, a sad creature who lost his mate on another world. At his request, the elves relocated him here to grieve. He is the guardian of the forest and coordinates with the elves should evil creatures invade Uialerin. The glade possesses an unearthly beauty and the one place on Uialerin where a warm spring breeze is ever-present, and the glade is green with grass.

Snowdrift
A typical hunting lodge, Snowdrift has one primary structure and two attached annexes. The lodge is made of hewn stone and river rock in the side of a mountain. The lower level is a stable for animals, with quarters for hunters on the floor above it. The structure is magically warmed, eliminating the need for fire places. Quarters are comfortable with the hides and furs of previous hunts hanging from the walls or piled on the warm, comfortable beds. Hunting bows and quivers full of flight arrows are stockpiled and readily available.

Calmanar
The only city on Uialerin is Calmanar. It began as a small keep out of which the elves could operate their blockade of Armistice. Enterprising elves soon built inns and taverns around the keep to serve off-duty sailors, and the new nobles built their estates at the keep to take advantage of the protection it afforded. Very quickly a small city arose where before there was only a woodland glade.

Calmanar today is a city of about 4,500. The vast majority are elves from Realmspace, Greyspace, Darnannon, and Krynnspace. About a quarter of the population are non-elven merchants, laborers, and artisans. The elves allowed non-elves to settle at Calmanar as there was a shortage of elves willing to settle in such a cold sphere as Winterspace. Humans and half-elves are most common, followed by dwarves and gnomes. A single platoon of giff, twenty in all, is stationed at Calmanar as well. One last enclave is a company of hadozee and their families are found here as well. Many work for the elves, while others are between jobs. Hadozee find the cold climate uncomfortable. A hadozee bundled up in a warm coat and leggings is quite a sight!

Calmanar is certainly not the place to go strutting about. It be best to keep a low profile. While the elves are arrogant in their belief that none would dare attack them at their stronghold, do not for a moment forget that the city is an elven stronghold. Elves routinely patrol the streets; patrols are a dozen watchmen strong, some armed with wands or magic weapons, and any cry for help will bring down half a company of warriors in very short order. But if you keep your wits about you, keep your head low and disguise yourself well, you can move about fairly freely. Non-elf merchants come to Calmanar all the time, and the elves do not check every crate and barrel. Just be careful, as the elves take a dim view of smugglers, and an even dimmer view of pirates.

Elves on shore leave indulge in the taverns and inns. Some get together into wild, carefree hunts through the nearby forest. Most hire guides by means of operations such as The Wild Hunt (see below) or, in the case of ship captains, use their contacts within the nobility to organize such hunts.

Landmarks
Barab Calmanar
At the center of Calmanar is a stone keep, Barab Calmanar. It is of elven architecture, with a narrow central spire that reaches a height of 120’ surrounded by five smaller spires joined by stone catwalks. A 20’ high curtain wall surrounds the central keep, pierced by stout, 40’ towers. The towers hold barracks for elven soldiers, 200 in total, and the central keep houses a further 100 elves. Patrols along the walls are regular but light; a skilled thief could scale penetrate the elves’ outer defenses fairly easily, but should expect tighter security the further they venture into the keep. The towers bristle with catapults, ballistae, and a pair of bombards on the central tower. Do not let the towers’ slender appearance fool you; they are built to withstand a siege and are quite sturdily built.

The central tower includes a dungeon to house prisoners, an armory, barracks, a treasury, and the personal quarters for the Admiral of the Sphere. I have it on good authority that the quarters in the central tower are quite luxurious, and that the Admiral lives like a king. He even has a throne room of sorts set up to hold court with his retainers and captains, and views Uialerin, and even all of Winterspace, as his private fief. The crown upon his brow is no doubt magical.

The Winterdocks
Nearly as impressive as Barab Calmanar is the Winterdocks, a series of elevated platforms designed to allow elven vessels, particularly Man-O-Wars and Monarch Tradesmen, to make landfall. Such landings are actually very rare; in most cases, the vessel will remain in orbit around Uialerin and use flitters as launches to move people and goods between the city and the ship. The Winterdocks can handle two elven vessels at once. The main purpose of the Winterdocks is to repair elven vessels. The Winterdocks are actually made from the same magical space trees that are used to create elven vessels. When such a vessel docks, the craft will heal at an unnatural rate. Man-O-Wars nearly dead are able to return to service in little over a tenday’s time. The workers merely need to repair the interior furnishings, weapons, and other inorganic components of the ship. The Winterdocks are heavily defended, with numerous towers topped with ballistae and catapults.

The Harbor
Civilian craft can land at the Harbor, which is large enough to handle about a dozen water-landing craft. The harbor is really a very large lake warmed by magical means to remain ice-free year-round. Six piers jut into the water, and if there is too much crowding, ships can simply beach further down the shore. The lake is about two miles long and very calm, unaffected by tides. Warehouses and a seedy tavern or two may be found here. Many laborers live in the area, as do most of the non-elves. South of the main harbor is a smaller harbor where a small community of elves dwells in elegant houseboats, crafted to resemble swans, turtles, or sea dragons. Small swan-shaped boats are used on the lake proper, propelled by long poles or magical means.

Giffworks
The platoon of giff dwells in this set of eight large, fortified buildings, as do most of the gnomes. The elves keep the giff on-hand to deal with trouble-makers and act as shock troops should the need arise. The gnomes are tinker gnomes, under the employ of the elves, provide the giff with firearms and smokepowder. These gnomes are highly skilled gunsmiths, crafting weapons ideally suited for giff hands. The gnomes make weapons for their own personal defense; expect each to carry two or more starwheel pistols at their hips. The structures of the Giffworks are quite strange, as giant hamster wheels are affixed to two, no doubt used to power the forges. The tinker gnomes are very subdued for their kind, lacking the desire to “improve” everything around them or build insane devices to accomplish minor tasks.

Barab Sylmi
This tall tower of black granite appears as if part of the starry night were taken from the sky and shaped into a slender tower. Barab Sylmi is about 100’ tall, making it the second tallest structure in the city. A vast garden surrounds the tower, complete with a hedge maze.

Barab Sylmi is a wizards’ tower. It is a magical structure, with many extradimensional spaces and mazes of chambers that confound and confuse unwelcome guests. The tower functions as a residence, school, and social club for the elven wizards of Calmanar. At least 100 wizards of varying power, from lowly apprentices to high mages, dwell in the tower, and at least twice that number, mostly minor mages, visit the school regularly to learn new spells and further their magical studies. Should Calmanar come under assault, the mages can be mustered into a “mage militia”, and use blasting magic to slay invaders and burn their ships to cinders. Rumor has it that an elvish lich, a creature known as a baelnorn, resides somewhere in the bowels of the tower. This baelnorn is a veteran of the Unhuman Wars and acts as chief advisor to the Admiral of the Sphere.

Shops
The Wild Hunt
This establishment caters to setting up hunting parties for elven sailors and officers on shore-leave. It provides guides, mounts, provisions, hunting bows, and everything else such expeditions require. Prices vary based upon the prey being hunted.

Blades of the Void
The best bladesmith in the city is this small weaponsmith shop. The shop is run by Llowar Springleaf, an elf, but most of the actual work is handled by his half-elf son, Deminor and human step-son, Annik.

The Silver Door
This little shop sells cheap jewelry. The elves suspect it is a front for a minor smuggling operation, and they would be correct in that assessment. If you know the right code word, here you can purchase illegal spices, strange pipe weed, and other contraband. A surprising number of elves are regular clients.

Inns
Calmanar has innumerable inns, many owned by the local nobles to cater to elven crews on shore leave. A selection of inns is below.

The Captain’s Berth
This inn is a well-run establishment with twenty private rooms and a large commons area. It is very popular with sailors on shore leave. The beds are comfortable and meals are served twice daily, feasts compared to normal ship rations. Many ladies of the evening can be found here.

The Edge of Winter
A popular place for visiting merchants and even adventurers, the Edge of Winter offers cozy rooms for reasonable rates. Most of its patrons are non-elves. The staff includes a trio of half-elf siblings, all with dreams of adventure dancing in their heads.

Master Camth’s Boarding House
For visitors looking to stay at Calmanar for more than a few days, this boarding house offers a comfortable bed for a reasonable rate. Master Camth is an elderly elf, a veteran of the Unhuman Wars who has settled down to enjoy his last few centuries in a quiet part of the Known Spheres.

The Curious Cat
An unusual establishment, as many ladies of the evening may be found in the inner chambers. The Curious Cat is well off the beaten path, away from any centers of authority and not marked in any way. The only way to really find the Curious Cat is to know someone who will bring you to it. The Cat is the dirty little secret the elves wish to hide from the Known Spheres, where they indulge their baser instincts. The ladies of the evening are non-elvish, and some are not even human or halfling! I counted at least one half-orc, a hobgoblin, two tieflings, and a faun, and have heard of even wilder accounts of half-dragons, genasi, and even a half-giant. The ladies are certainly attractive in their own exotic way. The guests indulge in other unsavory acts as well. All guests are masked to protect their identities; if rumors are to be believed, the reason the Cat has not been shut down is because a certain Admiral makes frequent visits!

Taverns
Flare in the Night
This large tavern was built by one of the original land-owners and designed to attract elven sailors. The place is rowdy, by elf standards, but unimaginatively dull compared to even the most straight-laced tavern in Waterdeep. Business must be good, as the building is always clean and there is a wait to get into the place. There are three private dining halls, each seating ten, which can be rented out for the night. Some elf captains rent these halls to host banquets for their officers and those sailors who prove service beyond the call of duty. I hear the elverquisst is the finest in the sphere, although I have never had the pleasure. Non-elves, while not exactly barred, do tend to stick out like a sore thumb and can be made to feel quite unwelcomed. (Excellent/Expensive)

Long Voyages
Of the taverns in Calmanar, Long Voyages is the closest one will find to a proper tavern. Here elves mingle with humans, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and the like. Elders tell tall tales to young, easily impressionable youths and men gamble, throw darts, and engage in proper wenching. Ale, beer, and rum are served in generous portions for the price. The food is probably the best you will find in the city, properly spiced and seasoned. (Good/Fair)
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:41 pm

Bones of Glyse

THE VITALS
NAME: Bones of Glyse
TYPE: Earth body
SHAPE: Irregular
SIZE: A
SATELLITES: N/A
DAY LENGTH: Varies
YEAR LENGTH: 550 days
POPULATION: Dwarves, grav

An age ago, the planet Glyse is thought to have been located here. It was a smallish earth body, and was torn asunder by the competing gravities of Armistice and Ryme. All that is left are the Bones, a band of asteroids that occupy the space between Ryme and Armistice.
The Bones is a wide, dispersed torus of planetary debris and a few icy comets. There are thousands of asteroids, most one to eight miles across. The asteroids cluster into groups of a few hundred to a few thousand rocks. The asteroids, for the most part, are great rocks in space, airless voids where no life is possible. Only a select few asteroids retain some measure of an atmosphere. Those asteroids that have atmospheres can support cold-tundra environments, always barely above freezing and the basic life being lichens and mosses. Boarlets, introduced by passing dwarven clans, feast on the lichens. Herds of the shaggy creatures, most no more than a foot tall at the shoulder, may be found on the largest asteroids. Natives use them as a food source.
The Bones are reputedly rich in metals of all sorts and semi-precious stones. Dwarven prospectors travel from rock to rock in search of wealth. I know of three major clans working the Bones, along with dozens of independent operators. The dwarf clans are the Sevenshields, the Nightanvils, and the Bronzeguard. A clan operates out of a central citadel, with smaller outposts and mining operations nearby. The dwarves make use of smaller vessels to travel about, namely wasps, dragonflies, and tradesman.
The dwarves and prospectors sell metals, precious metals, and semi-precious stones in markets on Radole and the moons of Ryme. Of particular value are Winter Rubies, which are rubies with a particular deep blood red coloration. These gemstones can fetch 900 g.p. for small chips, and the largest stones have been sold for as much as 25,000 g.p. Other prominent stones taken from the Bones include various agates, quartzes, malachite, sugilites, obsidian, and diamonds, all fetching good prices at Radole, Ryme, and even outside of the sphere.
In return, the dwarves import all manner of goods, from foods and textiles to armor, weapons, and magic items. The dwarves are hard-workers and very protective of their hard-earned gains. They take a very dim view of pirates and thieves. A decade of hard labor is a common sentence; execution is reserved only for murders. Strangely the dwarves of the Bones are forgiving, as once a sentence is completed, the former convict is released and all is forgiven. Repeat offenses have no impact on the duration of a sentence.
The Bones is a favorite place for the few pirates of Winterspace to hide out. The clusters can form a tight maze of flying rocks that can crush less maneuverable ships. Small dwarven vessels make for tempting prizes, and dwarven outposts are remote enough for quick raids. Yet most dwarven ships and mines are too heavily defended for the average pirate ship to handle, forcing them to seek plunder elsewhere. Raiding shipping lanes is uncommon, as this brings the pirates uncomfortably close to defenders at Radole, the elves, or even the navies at Ryme. Only the most brazen, or suicidal, pirate would seek to raid Radole itself, which happened only once and saw the destruction of no less than seven pirate vessels. An eight, a dragonfly, managed to escape only because the wizard aboard could hide the ship with invisibility while their fellow pirates were being slaughtered.
There are more pirates in the Bones than there are active in Winterspace. Many out-of-sphere pirates only come to Winterspace to “lay low” rather than to raid and plunder. A survey of these pirate groups reveals a mere four that actively plunder within Winterspace, and at any given time there will be a further six or so vessels visiting. Active groups include the Scarlet Spot, Men of the Black Sabre, the Fellows of Blood, and the Starbane. Some groups are small, with but a single vessel, while the largest, the Men of the Black Sabre, commands three.

Prattisp
The Gem of the Bones and center of commerce is Prattisp. It is a dwarvish city of about three thousand individuals, about a third of which are non-dwarves. Gnomes, humans, elves, and halflings make up the majority of the non-dwarves, although there is a sizable platoon of giff that sell their services to the highest bidder.
The city is built into the side of an eight-mile wide asteroid. It is a vertical city, with switchbacks climbing a steep cliff. Near the base of the cliff are the docks, along the gravity plane. Taverns and boarding houses for dock laborers are found here. Climbing the cliff one fines many stores and the homes of craftsmen and shopkeepers. The penthouses of clan elders and the wealthiest merchants are located near the summit. From certain angles, the city façade takes on the appearance of the face of a noble dwarvish king.
Prattisp is ruled by a council of dwarven elders drawn from each of the major clans. Power rotates between the Sevenshields, Nightanvils, and Bronzeguard regularly as the fortunes of clans wane and wax with each discovery. Minor clans have their say as well, and there have been times when the affairs of the city were handled by one or more of these minor clans. Currently the Bronzeguard clan holds sway in the city’s affairs, with the Sevenshields on the decline and the Nightanvils growing once more in influence.
The city is under the protection of the dwarves. Two hammerships, built of stone and steel, guard the city at all times. The ships carry 100 dwarf warriors and four heavy catapults. Should a foe be so dangerous that the local navy and the city’s batteries cannot drive it away, the dwarves can call for help from nearby citadels. One to three dwarven citadels can arrive in an hour’s time.
Landmarks
The Docks
Eight large stone piers jut into wildspace. Each is about a hundred and twenty feet long and run along the gravity plane. Bags filled with sand are attached to the edges to protect ships from accidental damage should they bump into a pier. Stout dwarf dock workers can be hired to haul cargo from the piers to one of the four warehouses where goods can be stored.
There are two small caverns where ships can be repaired. The caverns can handle ships of up to hammership size, but not ships with extensive rigging, such as galleons or Man-O-Wars. Repairs are expensive, 1.5x normal rates, due in part to scarcity of lumber and parts in the city.
Ice Market
This row of structures is located near the summit of Prattisp are soundly constructed and heavily guarded. Two bombards and six heavy catapults are mounted upon the roofs, hidden behind protective turrets. A guard station is located at the end of the street, and all traffic must pass through the guard station. Only those with special permits are allowed to enter the street. “Window shopping” is strictly forbidden. No place is more heavily guarded in the city.
The Ice Market is a series of nine shops where gemstones are sold, some in bulk, others in singular stones. Here merchants haggle with prospectors for the best prices for their stones in dimly lit chambers. Each stone is carefully weighed and appraised for value before a single copper changes hand. Deals are carefully watched over by representatives of all three major clans to ensure no undercutting of the market is allowed to take place, and to ensure security.
Pish Market
Visitors smell the Pish Market before they catch sight of it. From a dozen or more stalls pish mongers hawk their wares to passing shoppers. Freshly caught pish are packed in ice and put on display for sale. Every morning pish mongers purchase the previous night’s catch from pishermen and prepare their wares for sale. By noon shoppers descend upon the Pish Market to purchase their evening’s meal, exchanging coppers and silvers and the rare gold for choice meat cuts. By evening the pish mongers pack that which could not be sold for tomorrows’ shoppers.
Starlit Brewery
This large-scale brewery is run by the Bronzeguard clan. Several large vats create enormous quantities of ale and lagers. Embers from the sun are used to heat water as part of the process, which the dwarves have perfected to the point that there is very little waste. Every day kegs are shipped to taverns across the port, or loaded onto ships for export to ports across the sphere. A pint can cost as much as 1 s.p. for a good batch. Ship captains often purchase “Captain’s Keg”, small barrels that hold 5 gallons, for long voyages to keep in their private cabins. A Captain’s Keg fetches 10 g.p. and are viewed as a status symbol in Winterspace. Emptied Captain’s Kegs are somewhat a collector’s item, and can fetch 2-3 g.p. due to the fine stencil-work and painting on each keg. No two Captain’s Kegs are painted alike.
Taverns and Inns
Gray Kindori Inn

Red Dwarf Inn

Proxima
The Free City of Proxima is a dangerous port to visit, as it is a haven for pirates. It is located deep within the Bones, in a place where asteroids are packed so tightly that few ships can successfully navigate the field. It is a place as far from Elven patrols as one can get in Winterspace. It is the home port for the handful of pirates and buccaneers operating in Winterspace. Proxima varies wildly in population, from as few as one hundred to as many as nine hundred, with an average of around four hundred and thirty individuals.
Proxima is found in a crater on a four-mile wide asteroid. A frozen lake occupies the center of the crater. A geyser at the center of the lake sends cold mist into the sky on an hourly basis, which falls upon the lake as a fresh thin layer of snow. The source of this snow is unknown and believed to be magical in nature.
Large caverns along the crater’s inner edge serve as the port’s docks for medium-sized ships. There are five such caverns, capable of hiding up to eight vessels. Cranes and stone cradles allow water-landing craft to be hidden in these caverns. Ground-landing craft can land in the open areas around Proxima.
There are two primary industries in Proxima – ship repair, and its taverns. Pirates often travel to Proxima after particularly brutal battles to seek the sort of repairs that simple patching and minor magic cannot mend. While some captains can hide the true nature of their vessel when visiting neutral ports, many choose to head to Proxima where the chances of capture are small. The town’s taverns cater to the crews of these visiting pirates.
Proxima was founded three centuries ago by a powerful pirate-wizard named Proximaar. He lies buried in a crypt in the town graveyard. His great grand-daughter, a witch by the name Proximii II, rules the town with an iron fist. Proximii II appears to be a stern, stately woman entering her thirties, but her true age is closer to sixty. She makes use of Potions of Longevity to keep age at bay. She is both an accomplished swordswoman and a mage. Her children, of whom four are known, run the port in her name. Her son Rolph Blacksabre commands the Men of the Black Sabre and is her most likely successor.
Landmarks
Redhook Cavern
Largest of the five docking caverns, Redhook has stone cradles built to handle ships such as hammerships and squidships. It is a repair facility frequently used by notorious pirate groups. Vessels from Realmspace and Greyspace often make use of the facilities, far from their normal hunting grounds, where their flags and hulls are not immediately recognizable as the black-hearted pirates they are. Redhook can handle up to three such vessels at any given time. The work crews of Redhook are efficient and competent and comprised of degenerates such as half-orcs, full-blooded orcs, and hobgoblins, all under the watchful eye of the duergar Malbric the Redhook, so named for the blood-stained hook that replaced his left hand.
Deadman’s Walk
This stretch of barren earth serves as the town graveyard. The frozen ground is difficult to dig into, often requiring magic to create new graves, so it is common to simply bury many corpses in the same grave. At the end of Deadman’s Walk is a crypt where Proximaar the Bold, founder of Proxima, is buried. No pirate is foolish enough to plunder the crypt, as Proximaar is said to wander both the crypt, and Deadman’s Walk, as a ghastly, undead creature who brings ruin to those who seek his hidden treasures. Rumor has it that the crypt is merely the entrance to a much grander tomb complex, with clever traps, guardian constructs, spells, and undead horrors that hide great treasures. Those that attempt to plunder the crypt are never heard from again.
Proximaar’s Tower
All of Proxima’s decadence and depravity finds its center in this squat, broad tower of black granite. The plain, drab exterior hides the splendor within, purchased with stolen booty and the riches plundered from far-away worlds. Here Proximii II and her family dwell, along with their innumerable lovers and concubines. Here too, are the accumulated magical might the Proximaar family has acquired, and the hidden laboratories where they work vile magic, summon otherworldly creatures to do their bidding, and conduct terrible experiments on living creatures. Shambling, misshapen creatures that only vaguely resemble humanity guard the entrance, and even more vile creations lurk within. Imps stalk the halls, whispering in the ears of visitors to commit the most heinous of acts of violence and murder. Half-fiends are welcomed guests, and the occasional succubus or other lesser demon are summoned for the inhabitants’ amusement.
The entry level is an open foyer of lavish luxury. Paintings hang on the walls, thick rugs from faraway Calimshan cover the floor, and pleasant music plays from an unseen source, no doubt created by magic for it is ceaseless and without pause. Guests occupy the many chairs and couches, gossiping endlessly about matters great and small. Scantily-clad servants attend to rugged pirate captains and fiendish guests. At the center of attention is Proximii II, who is never without a pistol at her hip and a wine goblet in her hand.
A central stair leads up to guest chambers on upper floors, and many dungeon levels below. Guest quarters are comfortable, with the most luxurious quarters reserved for Proximii and her family. Handsome pirates who catch Proximii’s eye are given a glimpse of her private chambers. Surprisingly few live to tell the tale, as Proximii often murders those that displease or offends her in the slightest way.
Inns and Taverns
The Frozen Void Inn
This ramshackle structure is built from scrap lumber, fieldstones, and salvaged timbers from wrecked ships. It is a long, low structure with twenty private rooms and two commons at opposite ends of main building. The tap room is underground, a dimly lit and smoky chamber where drunken pirates spend their ill-gotten gains on watered down rum and meals of scavver, pish, moldy bread, and cooked tubers. Fights are commonplace, with losers often being sold to captains as indentured servants to pay for damages done to the bar. Ale spiked with sleeping potions is often employed as well, the victims sold into slavery or even murdered for all they possess.
Fire Dragon Tavern
For sailors looking for a good place to warm their bones and put a good meal in their belly, they head to the Fire Dragon Tavern. A roaring fire is always burning, warming the taproom to a comfortable level. The food served is hot and well-seasoned for a reasonable price. Rum, ale, and even wine can be had, although for outrageous prices. Customers come for the food, not the drink, is a common local quip.
The Tattered Sail Inn and Tavern
The most famous place in Proxima is the Tattered Sail inn.
The Place

The Prospect
Walking into the place

The Provender

The Prices


Traveler’s Lore
The Tattered Sail is perhaps Proxima’s most famous tavern and inn; many a pirate has heard wild tales of the place from across the Known Spheres. Exaggerations abound, including tales of succubus serving wenches and rum served in goblets of gold, although for every legend there is a seed of truth.
Several fences operate out of the Tattered Sail. They sit in the four rented dining rooms where as many as eight can sit comfortably and conduct business behind closed doors. They deal in anything, from stolen cargo to ransoming kidnapped merchants. The fences are very rich, and are no fools. They have magic at their disposal to incapacitate or outright slay those that would do them harm, and have bodyguards secreted within the patrons and servers. The most prominent of the fences is Dralla Hellstar, Arkin the Dark, and Hithren of Radole.
The Tattered Sail has been the scene of many brawls, some almost legendary. Here an agent of the Elven Fleet was exposed, beaten senseless (despite several summoned monsters!) and sold into slavery. Another tale speaks of an adventuring party, sent to recover a valuable idol stolen from a merchant, fought a pitched battle that involved thirty pirates, a drunken giff, and a devil released from the idol that nearly burned the establishment to the ground.
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:42 pm

Armistice

THE VITALS
NAME: Armistice
TYPE: Earth body
SHAPE: Spherical
SIZE: F
SATELLITES: 3
DAY LENGTH: 60 hours
YEAR LENGTH: 700 days
POPULATION: Humanoids


Heed my advice: stay away from Armistice. The elves blockade the planet, so they have got to have something good down there, right? Wrong. See, the elves have a whole mess of humanoids down there. Goblins, orcs, hobgoblins, gnolls, bugbears, and the like. Back when the elves and orcs had their little spat, what we tend to call the Unhuman Wars, a bunch of orcs managed to fight the elves to a draw, and the two sides were forced to parley. Ole Admiral Leafbower, an elf if you couldn’t tell by his name, negotiated a peace with the orcs, granting them a world in exchange for their ships. The other elves were not too keen on the treaty, and decided to dump the orcs on the most inhospitable place they could find, along with practically every orc, goblin, and kobold they had captured during the course of the war. The elves named the world Armistice as some sort of cosmic joke on the hapless lot. They put in a blockade around Armistice, and run off everybody that approaches. At all times they keep at least one of their Man-O-Wars in orbit, and other ships make regular patrols around Armistice from time-to-time. Best not be caught anywhere near that place; it be a hanging offense at best. Even worse is to be banished there.

If ye be foolish enough to challenge the elves, it best be informed to what you are in for. Armistice is a beast of a world, thirty thousand miles in diameter, with gravity three times what you might consider normal. The planet has two climates: cold, and damned cold. The entirety of Armistice is a cold, barren world wracked by continually-erupting volcanoes, hot vents, and rumbling earthquakes. Glaciers, high ice-covered mountains, tundra, and bitterly cold seas are the most common terrains you will find on Armistice.

Landing in water on Armistice is a tricky affair. The triple moons create enormous tidal effects that can leave a ship stranded, or swamped, in a matter of minutes. The seas are near suicidal to navigate, with swift currents, choppy seas, and frequent rogue waves. And then there are the sharks; some of these fish grow as large as small ships, and can bite through the hull of a galleon if they are hungry enough. Gods help any soul that should fall overboard; if the cold water does not kill the pour soul outright, the fishes will surely finish ‘em off.

There isn’t much life on land. Lichen, mosses, and some wild grasses are about the extent of the flora. The only animals that survive are various worms. These creatures range from tiny earthworms to enormous tunnel worms. Tunnel worms are voracious predators, attacking without hesitation and never relent until either they or their prey are dead. They are cannibalistic, so attacked by a pack of the creatures, slaying one will very likely set the others upon their fallen brethren, allowing a brief respite to retreat or regroup for a last stand.

The goblin-kin of Armistice are incredibly strong after generations of living under the heavy gravity of their home planet. Free from the shackles of Armistice’s gravity, orcs and hobgoblins are nearly as strong as ogres, and bugbears and ogres are as strong as giants. Their stature has suffered, and appear very squat compared their cousins on other worlds. In terms of body, they appear stocky and squat, similar to dwarves. They are all also very hairy, with thick coats of fur covering their entire body. Some tribes can be identified by distinctive markings such as stripes or spots. The effect is that Armistice goblin-kin are very bestial and savage, more so than their cousins on other worlds if such a thing can be believed.

The goblin-kin hate their imprisonment and want to escape Armistice. With the elves holding the world under blockade, they have little opportunity to escape. Rumor has it that a group attempted a breakout using a fleet of ramshackle vessels cobbled together in secret. Their effort might have succeeded had they not been thwarted by elven vessels, and if the gossipmongers are to be believed, a pair of radiant dragons! The elves supposedly responded by unleashing some planet-devastating monster, but to their disappointment, the monster did not survive the harsh conditions of Armistice’s surface.

Crushship
For those captains insane enough to brave the elven blockade, insanely strong and savage goblin-kin, and the fiercest storms in the sphere, there is a single port on the planet, a smuggler’s den unknown and carefully hidden against prying eyes. The port is known as Crushship and found on a large, mountainous island along the equator, where the humanoids are absent.

Crushship is difficult to find, even in the best of conditions. There are a few guides for hire at Proxima and Ryme, but they do not come cheap. And they are always wary of elven spies, although to my knowledge the elves do not know Crushship exists. The port is located in the mountains, far from any large body of water suitable to land a craft; only ground-landing craft can use the port. Crushship is hidden behind an illusionary wall that hides a tunnel just wide enough to let a dragonfly or wasp enter. Alcoves on either side hide four heavy ballistae; unwelcomed guests are dealt with harshly.

At the end of the tunnel is a wide cavern large enough for three wasps to set down. Lining the walls is a handful of sturdy structures, built to withstand the frequent tremors. These serve as barracks, a blacksmith, and a crude tavern for the forty or so permanent residents, a motley crew of pirates, brigands, and slavers. In addition, there are another one hundred or so slaves found working the mines below. The permanent residents are stout, strong fellows, one and all, and are the last people you want to get into a brawl with.

So why come to Crushport? Two reasons: first, if a pirate needs to lay low for a while, it is the last place the authorities will look for ‘em. The other reason? Crushport sits atop the only known vein of mithril in the entire sphere. Every year small ingots worth of the stuff is extracted and these fetch a king’s ransom in the markets of Ryme and Radole. A single ingot is worth several thousand gold crowns in the black markets. The authorities would no doubt love to shut this little operation down if they could.

The mines go deep into the mountain. They are worked by a ragged assortment of slaves collected over the years. Dwarves, elves, humans, and even orcs and goblins all are forced to work side-by-side. The orcs and goblins are the best workers, unaffected by the harsh gravity, but number fewer than a dozen. Although the slavers would dearly love to capture more, they fear a revolt should they bring too many Armistice humanoids into the mines.

The overseer of this little operation is Mindell Kusk, a pirate and powerful wizard. He possesses a ring that grants him freedom from Armistice’s crushing gravity. An evil elf that had been cast from the Elven Fleet for conduct unbecoming of an officer, he takes great pleasure in running this little operation right under the Fleet’s noses. He is both sadistic and cruel, sometimes staging pit fights between slaves just to enjoy watching an elf or halfling have their heads caved in by an Armistice orc.

Landmarks
Not much to see in Crushship. There are eight or so buildings and large side-caves surrounding the main cave. The nicest place is Mindell’s residence, built of slave-carved stones. The only tavern is the Dagger in the Dark, and a small store.

Mindell’s Residence
Mindell keeps for himself the most luxurious quarters in Crushship. The façade suggests a modest dwelling, perhaps no more than ten feet by twenty, but this is merely Mindell’s front office. A door in the back leads to a luxurious apartment, carved from the mountain by magical means. The spacious area has a bed chamber, a magically warmed bathing chamber, and a private kitchen and dining facility where Mindell dines on the finest meals prepared by unseen servants. Somewhere is his treasure vault as well, said to be guarded by a guardian deamon, containing all the wealth he has accumulated on the backs of his slaves. He keeps a flesh golem in his laboratory, one constructed of the flesh of dead slaves.

The Store
The Store is best described as an overly large storeroom housing whatever junk that collected and refurbished for resale. Prices are outrageous; a simple dagger costs 5 g.p. while a pair of trousers are sold for 1 g.p. Anyone outraged at the prices is rudely pointed to the competition – the howling humanoids of Armistice.

Taverns
Dagger in the Dark
As the sign proudly proclaims, Dagger in the Dark is the only tavern on Armistice. The lack of competition shows. The Dagger is a dive, with tables and chairs made from salvaged crates or poorly constructed from scrap. The only light comes from glowmoss that grows on the stone walls. The grog and rum served is watered down and the measly meals served are half-cooked stews or simply hardtack and moldy cheese. The owner is Rolk Krelmann, a surly, nasty former pirate with an eyepatch and a hook for a left hand. He charges 3 g.p. for a mug of grog, 5 g.p. for a mug of rum, and 5 g.p. for whatever is being served for a meal. His wife, Lyarah the half-orc, is the only waitress, and she is even more surly and nasty than her husband. If patrons who pass out are left to sleep on the floor, after Rolk “secures” a room fee. This typically is whatever he can riffle from the patron’s pockets, of course.
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:43 pm

Whyst

The Wintergulf
The distance between Whyst and the spherewall is known as the Wintergulf. It is not a vast distance when compared to other spheres, a mere two and a half days to traverse. Here the stars are especially bright. Comets, ice fists, blizzard nebulas, and the like are common here. Most ships can pass through with little difficulty. On occasion, a chance encounter with a comet or a swarm of ice fists can cause damage to a vessel and require costly repairs. Such repairs are all the more costly due to a distinct lack of lumber in the sphere.

Wildspace life thrives in the Wintergulf. Here one might find enormous kindori pods, numbering as many as forty great beasts, lumbering their way through wildspace. The Wintergulf is a breeding ground for the creatures, and they gather from distant spheres to mate. Be wary of blundering into a kindori pod, as males are highly aggressive and will think nothing of battering anything that might be mistaken for a rival male. More than one overly ambitious whaling vessel has been destroyed by competing male kindori. What’s worse, some kindori grow to truly gigantic sizes, up to three or even four times the standard size of normal adult kindori, some larger than an elven Armada!

Scavver packs are quite numerous, hunting vast schools of pish. The majority are night scavvers, who form packs of up to thirty such creatures, and rime scavvers. On rare occasion, sailors have reported packs of up to eight void scavvers, a truly terrifying sight to any man in a crow’s nest or on the lines. There are rumors such a pack was responsible for the loss of the Lament, a tradesman out of Realmspace. The Lament was found drifting in the Wintergulf, having been missing for two years, with no sign of crew, just tattered sails and doors and windows smashed inward.

Krajen are another hazard common to the Wintergulf. The creatures are highly aggressive and will attack ships they come across, trying to devour the crew. Fortunately, the krajen of Winterspace seem to think squidships to be their kin, and leave such ships be. I can confirm such rumors, as the Crimson Kraken has never been attacked by such creatures, even when one passed by us at a distance of no more than two miles.

The Wintergulf is not devoid of anything interesting. Firstly, the many kindori attract a number of whaler vessels to the area. They have a port on a dormant comet called Cape Ice, which skirts the spherewall at a distance of about 5 million miles, sweeping into the inner system once a decade that brings it to a point just outside the orbit of Radole. The whalers care only for money their hunts can bring them and little else. Stories abound of them leaving stricken ships to chase some prized kindori pod. They are strong, hardy men and women, should you cross paths with them. They often wear fancy clothes, shining jewelry, and keep shimmering, magical harpoons at their side.

The whalers of Cape Ice are in constant conflict with the mochians, kindori-riding barbarians. These savages not only tame the great beasts they live upon, but can summon ghostly whales, scavvers, and krajen to do their bidding! The mochians are raiders, attacking ships for plunder and even pillaging isolated settlements. They worship Black Moby, a kindori said to be the size of a planet that wanders the cosmos. The mochians are very dangerous; it is better to parley with them and simply pay them off than to risk sever damage and loss of seasoned crewmen.


Cape Ice
The comet Cape Ice is four miles long and a mile wide, looking like a slowly tumbling, oblong iceberg floating lazily in wildspace. Every decade it swings by Aember, warming from freezing temperatures to somewhat balmy and tolerable temperatures. When it swings by Aember, some vapor escapes the atmosphere to form a long trail behind Cape Ice, which later falls as snow and sleet as the comet swings away from Aember.

Cape Ice is not a large settlement. It is a community of perhaps six hundred hardy souls, a mix of stout humans, dwarves, a few half-orcs, and giff. They are whalers, operating six to eight vessels that hunt in packs of two to four ships. Modified lampreys are most common, along with dragonflies and a pair of wasps. These carry harpoon guns designed to injure and slay kindori and scavver. The whalers are not keen on fighting other vessels, only the creatures they hunt. They stalk kindori pods primarily, but are optimistic and will slay the scavvers and pish they come across. Little is wasted from these hunts; their hunts yield great amounts of lamp oil, meat, and flexible bones often used in the riggings of many spelljammers. Many parts are useful for potions or spells, and carry a premium when sold to mages. Merchants make frequent stops at Cape Ice to trade with the whalers. They bring luxuries to trade for the valuable raw materials the whalers have to sell.

A Council of Captains rules Cape Ice. This every-changing body of the richest and most influential captains and former captains write laws and settle disputes. Currently there are eight members, about half of which are retired captains. The active captains only make infrequent appearances at Council meetings, as their duties keep them too busy to regularly attend. Laws are few; Cape Ice is a rowdy, rugged place where fights between natives are common. Oddly, the natives actively avoid getting into fight with sailors of merchant vessels, perhaps to keep from scaring away customers. Disputes between natives are settled with fists, and once the fight is over, the participants head to the nearest tavern to celebrate. A few pints later and all disagreements between the combatants are forgiven and forgotten. Nobody holds a grudge; once a fight is over, the combatants will likely become fast friends.

Be warned that whale carcasses are harvested here, and the stench from the process is overwhelming to newcomers. Some visitors make use of various magic spells, from cantrips to magic items, to deaden or mask the stench with flowery smells. The natives seem blind to the foul odors yet aware of them, as many a peddler and hedge mage will sell various charms to protect the noses of visitors. Some even work.

Landmarks
Whalebone Tower
The dwelling of Aridros the Boneshaper, Whalebone Tower is the tallest structure at Cape Ice. Rising ninety feet into the night sky, Whalebone Tower is made of the fused bones of dozens, if not hundreds of kindori. Decades ago, a pile of discarded kindori, scavver, and pish bones filled a bowl-shaped depression at the far end of Cape Ice. Aridros used powerful magic to shape these bones into his tower, a feat that both amazed the residents of the town and filled them with sheer terror. Skeletal scavvers prowl the skies around the macabre tower, discouraging unwanted visitors.

Aridros is a wizard and alchemist. He has four pupils under his wing, each of varying degrees of talent. When whalers pull into port, one or more will visit to assess the catch and purchase eyes, fins, or organs necessary for potion brewing. Merchants know of Aridros and his potions, and will visit the tower to acquire some for resale. Aridros is an elderly, yet hardy man who can still throw a mean right hook if pressed. His prized pupil is his daughter, Helga the Bonemistress, a promising alchemist. Helga is not to be trifled with, as I saw her pick up a sailor who whistled at her and dunk him, head-first, into a pish barrel. She has an eye for components, and many say she does most of the potion brewing at Whalebone Tower these days.

Frostpebble Beach
Cape Ice lacks a proper dock or piers. Instead, ships use this stretch of pebble beach to land. The beach is over a mile long and 100’ wide, allowing for many ships to land with little issue. Ground-landing vessels have no issues while most water-landing craft will have difficulty landing here, depending on their rigging. The lampreys used by the natives are modified to land here without difficulty. Squidships and hammerships, if carefully guided and with a skilled helmsman and crew, can make landfall with and acceptable risk to damage to the ship. There are always two or three merchant vessels here to trade with the whalers. In the winter, the pebbles are covered in frost and a fine layer of snow. During the short summer, this melts into dew that clings to the rocks.

Captains’ Hall
The closest thing Cape Ice has to a government building is a northman’s long house where the Council of Captain’s holds court. Meetings are held weekly, and begin with a round of ales before the first order of business is attended to. Another round is delivered with each case or law to be passed; it is not uncommon for Council meetings to conclude when all members of the Council have passed out. It is thus wise to get all important matters handled first. The Hall is large enough to accommodate an audience of fifty or so individuals.

The Kindory
This large stone structure is where kindori carcasses are processed. Up to three can be handled at any given time, with workers stripping flesh from bone, draining oil from the blubber, and the like. Most of the townsfolk not directly working aboard a ship find employment here. The complex is extensive and maze-like; newcomers can get lost without a guide. Much of the complex is underground, with caverns large enough to hang a kindori carcass from its tailfins to properly bleed it out. Several underground chambers are dug into the permafrost, where meat is kept ice cold and fresh before it is packed in ice and shipped to taverns on Radole and the moons of Ryme. Kindori heartblood is used to make a sort of wine that the natives favor, and is bottled here as well. In addition, the facilities can process scavvers and pish in much the same manner.

Ptahian Temple
The whalers are not a religious people as a general rule, and only pay lip service to Ptah in return for healing services. The temple is run by High Priest Kithmit, a pleasant enough fellow who has embraced the Cape Ice lifestyle as well as anyone could. His services are often called upon to mend bones broken when brawls go a bit too far. The temple is a small affair, with a stone chapel and a few acolytes singing hymns in praise of Ptah. Under the temple is a large catacomb where the dead are laid to rest in burial niches.

Leathers of the Void
The tanner Oryn fashions all manner of leather goods from scavverskin and kindori hide. Leather armor, belts, belt pouches, boots, and backpacks can all be had for fairly reasonable prices. Oryn is fairly talented yet his store often appears somewhat bare as his goods are snatched up as quickly as he can make them. He keeps only a few samples on shelves as display items for customers, rarely for sale.

Taverns
The Slippery Scavver
This tavern is dug into the earth, its taproom located below street level. It is a dark, smoky place where whalers brawl, drank ale, and brawl some more. It has several private booths with curtains that can be drawn to deaden the sounds of drunken whalers so diners can eat in relative peace. Fare is typical of a whaling port, and rather pricy.

Whaletooth
A dive in every respect, Whaletooth offers little more than ale, beer, and rum. Whalers and off-duty Kindory workers come here to drink their wages. Ale is cheap and watered down, and food is often served cold. It is not a place for the faint of heart nor the weak of stomach. Brawls are constant.

Inns
The Restful Hall
Little more than a northman’s long house, the Restful Hall offers a cot piled with furs to sleep in for 1 s.p. per night. Up to forty can fit. There is little privacy and the whole hall reeks of unwashed bodies but it can be a fun, rowdy place with drinking and singing until the wee hours of the morning, with guests sleeping well into the noontime hour. Drinks are 2 s.p. per mugful, and meals of pish stew are had for 8 c.p. The Hall is warm at night thanks to the large number of patrons in such close proximity.

Hammerfell Hall
The most unusual inn in perhaps all of Winterspace is Hammerfell Hall. It is built from the hull of an old hammership, with a new top deck covering the main deck and all sails, masts, and weapons removed. It trails Cape Ice at a distance of two miles, a point just a thousand feet from the comet’s air envelope. A long chain anchors it to the comet.

The Place
A dirt trail leads from the heart of Cape Ice to the far end of the comet, where a heavy anchor is buried into the rock with a long, black chain leading away from it to a point in the night sky some two miles distant. Those with exceptional eyesight can make out the distinct silhouette of a broad-beamed hammership. Next to the hammer is a circular clearing with a flitter and a pilot, a half-orc named Rossfield. For a fee of 1 s.p. he will ferry up to six individuals to the Inn, a trip that takes but a few minutes. Rossfield likes to chew on foul-smelling cigars.

The inn is larger than a standard hammership, pushing the limits of what standard helms can move. There are nine private rooms on the main and cargo decks, each with two beds, a commons area that sleeps ten where the top deck between the fore and aft castles is usually located. A newly built upper deck is an open air tavern and saloon, with twelve tables and a circular bar built out of the aft turret. The cargo hold is a combined kitchens/pantry, with a dumbwaiter system to deliver food and drink to the bar where Valkyrie waitresses carry orders to guests. Gordon and his waitresses sleep in quarters built into the tail of the craft.

The Prospect
One might not expect to find an establishment of such quality in such a backwater as Cape Ice, yet Hammerfell is a quality inn. The usual rowdy and brawling nature of Cape Ice is channeled into a form of entertainment. The forward turret has been converted into a make-shift arena of sorts, with two rows of benches on raised platforms where guests can whoop and howl and bet on combatants. The first round after every fight is free for both winners and losers. Every fight is commenced by the ringing of the ship’s bell, which rings again when the fight is concluded. Both men and women compete in these brawls, and the women of Cape Ice are not to be under-estimated!

The entire upper deck is one large platform, with tables for dining under the stars. While this may be very chilly ordinarily, a mild enchantment keeps the dining area tolerably warm. During the summer, when Aember blazes in the sky, large umbrellas and awnings are deployed to provide comforting shade to his guests. Planter boxes filled with flowering plants replace the gunwales. Dwarf apple and cherry trees are harvested regularly, the fruit used to make hot apple and cherry pies. Valkyrie-like waitresses, human, dwarf, and even a half-orc, serves the guests. For a fee, their services can be obtained to “keep ye bed warm” at night, if you catch my meaning.

There are few rules for guests to abide by. They cannot start fires, damage the flora, not cast damaging spells or draw steel with intent to cause bodily harm or death. Guests caught violating these rules are forced to “walk the plank”, which magically extends to the edge of the air envelope. A swarm of brown scavvers eagerly await the condemned, ready to tear such victims apart at their leisure. Anything else is fair game.

Several cats stalk the halls and rooms, which help keep rodents under control. The domestic cats are prized mousers, and are often seen carrying a prized kill into a shadowy corner to dine.

The Provender
A surprising variety of beer, ale, lagers, and mead are available. For wine, they only offer Kindoriheart, a special, dark red wine made from the distilled heartblood of a kindori. The wine is an acquired taste, with a powerful kick when a single tallglass is ingested. It is best enjoyed at night, when the wine glows very softly with its own radiance, and sipped slowly.
The fare is similar to what one might expect at a place like Cape Ice, only of higher quality. Pish stew, scavverfin soup, biscuits, roast kindori, poached eggs, and roast chicken are all on the menu. Red cabbage and potato salads are sometimes available, depending on shipments from Radole. Personal and party-sized apple or cherry pies can be purchased for desert.

The Prices
Rooms at Hammerfell are 2 g.p. per person per night. A cot in the commons is 1 g.p. Ferry services are 1 s.p. for a one-way trip. The “bed warming” services of a waitress can be purchased for 10-25 g.p. (rates negotiable).

Pish stew is 4 s.p. per bowl; a bowl of scavverfin soup is 1 g.p.; a biscuit is 2 c.p. or 10 for 1 s.p.; a cut of roast kindori costs 3 s.p.; poached eggs are 6 c.p. per egg, and a roast chicken is 1 g.p. The red cabbage and potato salad is available maybe one day out of every three and costs 2 g.p. for a bowl. Pies are 1 g.p. for a personal pie and 5 g.p. for a party-sized pie (serves six).
Ales and lagers are 12 c.p. per tankard; mead is 1 s.p. per tankard. Kindoriheart wine is 1 g.p. per tallglass or 4 g.p. for a bottle.

Traveler’s Lore
The proprietor of this inn is Gordon Neogibane, a retired whaler who struck upon an idea. Realizing that visitors to Cape Ice might be offended by the smell of kindori processing, he purchased a wrecked hammership and towed it to a point trailing the comet by two miles. There, he rebuilt the hull, using parts taken from wrecked tradesmen and lampreys, to create this quite unusual inn. A flitter is used to ferry patrons from the town to the inn. By keeping the hammership beyond Cape Ice’s air envelope, it keeps the worst of the town’s smell away. Boxed plants, particularly flowering plants, are used to keep the inn’s own air envelope clean and fresh.

There are persistent rumors that the wreck that Gordon purchased was an old pirate ship and that the former captain had hidden one or more treasure maps aboard the ship that were missed in its conversion to an inn. Some guests have great fun searching every nook and cranny in search of this elusive treasure map, although none have claimed to find it. To be sure, the waitresses make a game of creating fake treasure maps and hiding them all over the inn, causing great excitement when one is discovered. Most lead nowhere or to distant ports the waitresses have only heard of from travelers. Skilled navigators will spot these obvious forgeries, but more than a few novice treasure hunters have fallen for these pranks.

More recently, a furious battle took place at the Hammerfell when an adventuring band, the Winter Wardens, exposed a scro warpriest, disguised by illusion, who was staying at the inn with his flunkies. Beginning in the brawler’s arena at the top deck, a running battle began after a dispel magic spell shattered the scro’s disguise and forced him to flee through a crowd of howling patrons. As the warpriest traded killing spells with the Warden’s wizard, his half-scro flunkies struck from the crowd. In a chaotic chase that took them from one end of the inn to the other, with Wardens and half-scro clashing steel and spell, it reached its conclusion in the kitchen. The warpriest, spells exhausted, took a waitress hostage with a knife to her throat. He underestimated her, and with overpowered the exhausted warpriest and put his own knife to his gut.

The Mochians
The kindori-riders of Winterspace are known as the mochians. These savage men and women are scattered across dozens, nay, hundreds of pods of space whales. The kindori they ride journey to other spheres, but the greatest concentration of the mochians is Winterspace.

Mochian are largely human in appearance. They are tall, averaging six to six-and-a-half feet tall. Within wildspace, their hair is jet-black, with flicks of white, and worn long and unkempt. In the Phlogiston, their hair turns into wild rainbow-colors, shifting ever so slightly over the course of time. Their eyes can be violet, blue, green, red, orange, or yellow, but never brown or black. Their skin is typically very pale in Winterspace, almost ivory-white. Their skin reacts to sunlight much quicker and more dramatically than civilized humans. When exposed to the glaring light of a nearby firebody, they can tan in a matter of minutes, turning from ivory white to dark brown. They can see very well in many lighting conditions; they can see almost as well as elves in twilight-like conditions, and are unaffected by glaring, blinding light.

Perhaps due to their exposure to harsh elements, they are extremely hardy. They have incredibly high tolerances to heat and cold. They are unaffected by freezing cold even when not wearing heavy furs. They can survive cold-based magical attacks far better than most other natives. Likewise, they can endure extremely hot temperatures without ill-effect. They are still affected by fire, mundane and magical. They can recover from burns and other injuries quickly, getting back on their feet in half the time one might expect.

Mochians are a barbaric people, producing little of their own. Clothes and weapons are typically booty taken from their frequent raids on ships and wildspace settlements. They have even been known to raid remote moons as well. They construct crude structures on the backs of their kindori-mounts, with materials gained from their raids. While ramshackle in appearance, the structures provide the most basic definition of shelter to these savages. Their attire will be a mismatch of clothing from a dozen spheres. Weapons will be whatever they can find, from simple bone-tipped spears to great swords taken from slain knights. They are unafraid of magic, and often employ the magic items they find to great effect. They do not use smokepowder weapons, as the explosions have a habit of spooking their kindori.

In addition to their kindori, the pods are accompanied by a number of tamed scavvers or comet steeds. Mochian warriors use these as steeds in their raids, flying around ships and hurling spears or using bows or crossbows. The bravest will ride night scavvers right into the thick of combat while wielding great axes or swords. Their ability to command these creatures is terrifying.

The mochians are ruled by a caste of shamans. These priestly spell-casters are quite dangerous. The strongest of their ranks can summon ghostly pish, scavvers, and even kindori whom they hurl against their foes with great zeal. These are their totem spirits, who obey the commands of the shamans without hesitation. There will always be at least one shaman per kindori, even if these are mere apprentices to an elder tribal shaman for the pod who rides the largest bull kindori. Mochian raids often make use of ghost scavvers to attack and weaken an enemy before mochian warriors attack, and ghost kindori to discourage pursuit by vengeful captains. Shamans often employ other forms of undead, such as skeletons, zombies, and even ghouls and ghasts, as guards, shock-troops, and enforcers.

Mochians worship a demigod they call “Black Moby”, often depicted as an enormous whale the size of a small planet or moon. Black Moby is a deity unique to the mochians, similar to totem beasts worshipped as demigods of some groundling barbarian tribes. Mochians describe Black Moby as a creator deity, giving birth to the kindori whales and scavvers and gifting them to mochians. After creating the kindori, Black Moby departed to explore distant spheres, returning only rarely to bestow new gifts upon his chosen people.

Above all, the mochians hate the whalers at Cape Ice. They consider the whalers to be thieves, killing the very beasts the mochians depend on for survival. Cape Ice has come under mochian attack on several occasions, driven away only by the superior weapons possessed by the whalers. Battles between the two have left many dead whalers, mochians, and kindori drifting in the void.

Tremortail
The largest mochian settlement in wildspace is found on the back of an enormous kindori known locally as Tremortail. This beast is fully five times larger than a standard specimen of the kindori, measuring four hundred feet from snout to tail. Two dozen structures dot its enormous back, appearing to be barnacles clinging to the kindori’s back.

Tremortail is a legendary bull, with a pod of twenty female kindori with twelve to twenty calves in tow. All of the adult kindori carry structures on their backs, while the younger kindori do not. A swarm of dozens of scavvers shadow the pod, used by the mochians as mounts and beasts of burden for transport between individual kindori. The mochians are careful never to use large scavvers near sows with calves, for fear of causing said sow to attack the scavvers in fear of safety for its calf.

Tremortail is ruled by the mochian warrior King Harrowharn, a grizzled veteran of forty summers or so. Experience has taught King Harrowharn to parley with captains rather than attack outright to secure tribute. Of late he has learned the value of mercenary work, attacking ships his employers ask him to. His prices are steep, valuing gemstones and magic over gold and silver. Star sapphires and star rubies are particularly valued, as are diamonds that gleam in sunlight.

Under King Harrowharn’s leadership the tribe has grown to about five hundred adult warriors, male and female, and two hundred children. The adults are skilled warriors, comparable to crack marines on many military vessels. Their use of scavver mounts make them more mobile, and therefore more dangerous. The barbarians have a distinct disadvantage in terms of number of heavy weapons, only able to deploy one or two such weapons per adult whale. Most of their heavy weapons have been salvaged from wrecked ships and thus is a mismatch of catapults, ballistae, jettisons, and even the bizarre weapons employed by the gnomes.

It is possible to approach and even dock at Tremortail, although certain precautions need to be taken. Firstly, take only a small vessel; anything larger than a dragonfly is seen as threatening and will provoke an attack from the mochians. Secondly, use only Splendid Sails or Ornery Oars. Standard helms of any sort will spook the kindori, causing them to bolt, after giving the offending vessel a tail-lash for good measure. Thirdly and most important, ye have to be on friendly terms with the mochians, which can be a hell of a trick in its own right. Never drop in upon them unannounced; they tend to take offense at that. And be sure to have a few gemstones handy to offer in tribute to King Harrowharn, least he decide to slay ye and seize all of yer baubles for wasting his time!

When dealing with King Harrowharn, proper respect is important. While he does not care for bowing or groveling, never speak out of turn and keep ye wits. He enjoys a good tale, so be ready to tell a grand saga over a meal of pish and wine. Once proper tribute is given and the feasting is done, he will allow visitors to conduct whatever business brought them to Tremortail. He has two sons, stout warriors known as Karn and Var, as well as a daughter named Veness. His chief advisor is the shaman Rannan, a powerful caster who has the power to summon ghost kindori. Rannan is a tricky fellow, always whispering in the ear of King Harrowharn. He is not easily swayed by baubles and gifts. Finally, there are rumors of late that a cloaked individual has been seen in the Tremortail court, making grand offerings of gold, jewels, and magic in exchange for an alliance. My sources warn me this be a scro agent, festering hatred for the elves within the mochians. Thus far the agent has been little more than an amusing distraction in the court, but the fact that this agent has survived for months in the Tremortail court is very worrisome. Ye may not like the elves, but scro taking their place is bad business for everyone.

The town of Tremortail is a fairly simple place, with little to offer in terms of inns, taverns, or even stores. The mochians engage in a system of barter; coins are just flashy metal to them, of little value. Exotic foods, particularly spices, are highly prized. Even simple meals such as vegetables and bread can be traded for much more valuable commodities, usually taken in raids. Trading weapons can be tricky; if ye have too many weapons, the mochians might try to slay the seller and seize the weapons for themselves. Best to only bring a few, with promises of more with each return trip. The mochians are willing to part with a surprising amount of treasure, particularly gold they have plundered, to secure good quality steel weapons.
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by Lord Torath » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:26 am

night_druid wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:36 pm
He's similar to Julio the Airship captain from Order of the Stick (although his crew isn't all female ;) )
To be fair, Julio Scoundrel's crew isn't entirely female either.

I really enjoyed this. The White Krajen... Jaws? Or Moby Dick?

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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:06 am

Lord Torath wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:26 am
night_druid wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:36 pm
He's similar to Julio the Airship captain from Order of the Stick (although his crew isn't all female ;) )
To be fair, Julio Scoundrel's crew isn't entirely female either.
Heh, well I've never gotten around to stating Kraken up in too much detail yet, nor his crew. I sorta imagine him as having a crew that rotates a bit with new crew to replace older members who either retire (unlikely) or perish. ;)
I really enjoyed this. The White Krajen... Jaws? Or Moby Dick?
Kinda a combination of Moby Dick with Jaws and a bit of the Kraken Society. Maybe not as organized nor as powerful, but there are a few who kidnap people to be sacrificed as tasty snacks for their "god". :)
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by Jaid » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:54 am

right, so i'm a compulsive proofreader (not that my typical typing pattern necessarily shows it), so.... i'll just stick that part at the end, shall i?

looking interesting. i especially like the sun being a bit more accessible than usual... i think it might be fun to have at least a few more adventure hooks than 'nothing good here, move along', because of how much more accessible it feels. i mean, yeah, you need some fairly powerful magic (either something to shield the entire ship and any crew that will be exiting from heat, or means to teleport to the surface and come back later), but compared to the usual requirements that's pretty negligible.

of course, some of the parts you've indicated you expect to be the most interesting, you haven't really filled in yet (or at least, you haven't posted it if you have), so i expect it will get more interesting. if you want those proofread too, let us know which parts you've updated and i'll mention what i notice as i read them too :P


proofreading stuff:

after "A Word from the Kraken" paragraph, you should probably add a blank line before the introduction ;)

you talk about the flow river to winterspace. not sure you ever address where it comes from, beyond the fact that it also goes to heartspace and as such presumably you can travel between the two.

blizzard nebulas: this isn't "wrong", but a bit of a pet peeve: you use 'practically' twice in the same sentence within a few words. i prefer a bit more variety, personally :P also, you mention it taking "a few minutes" from the first sign of a blizzard nebula to any frost... that is quite a while to respond, not sure if you intended it to be something where you have several rounds before you need to worry at all. lastly, you've got 'advert' where i think you want 'avoid'. the third (small) paragraph of blizzard nebulas has an extra space before the period at the end of it.

the white krajen: you have one instance of 'slay' that should probably be 'slaying'.

rime scavvers: i feel like 'They seem to enjoy frozen meat over fresh kills' might be better as simply 'They seem to enjoy frozen meat', considering the kill is still fresh (just happened mere moments before), even if they freeze it.

navigating winterspace: i don't think you need the - in ill reputation. you would need one for ill-repute, i believe, and if you wanted to use that, you would describe the planet as being an area of ill-repute or something to that effect.

regarding Ryme: 'The moons are rich in minerals, timber, and other highly desirable minerals' you've got generic minerals twice there.

'Three moons, each nearly as large as Radole, orbit Armistice, the tidal effects on Armistice greatly exaggerated when compared to worlds such as Toril', i think you want something to the effect of "Three moons, each nearly as large as Radole, orbit Armistice, [causing] the tidal effects on Armistice [to be] greatly exaggerated when compared to worlds such as Toril'

The sulghin: think you want 'disposition' where 'deposition' is.

armistice: 'If ye be foolish enough to challenge the elves, it best be informed to what you are in for.' i would propose "you'd" instead of "it".

'They are cannibalistic, so attacked by a pack of the creatures' (i would suggest 'if' before 'attacked')

'Their stature has suffered, and appear very squat' (i would suggest 'and [they] appear')

'In terms of body, they appear stocky and squat, similar to dwarves.' you already just said they were squat in the previous sentence... maybe just combine this into that, and when you mention they're squat change it to them being squat like dwarves.

Crushship: 'Lining the walls is a handful of sturdy structures' (are, not is)

'So why come to Crushport?' (not gonna lie, i like crushport better, but if you're gonna call it crushship you should probably be consistent :P you use crushport in the next line as well, btw)

'Every year small ingots worth of the stuff is extracted' (depending on where you're going with this, you may need to simply remove 'worth', or change 'ingots' to something else that would be expensive i guess)

'said to be guarded by a guardian deamon' (demon would be standard D&D, daemon would be standard vaguely-fantasyish speak, deamon just looks weird).

'The Store is best described as an overly large storeroom housing whatever junk that collected and refurbished for resale' (suggest: 'whatever junk [has been] collected')

'If patrons who pass out are left to sleep on the floor, after Rolk “secures” a room fee' (i don't think you need 'if' at the start there)

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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by GMWestermeyer » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:30 am

night_druid wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:36 pm
As a side note, I came up with the Kraken as the identity of my character, Raken's father. Raken wouldn't know this, and it doesn't play a part in the game, and probably not even "official" (if Paul cares). The Kraken has fathered dozens, probably hundreds, of children, so Raken is likely to have half-sibblings all over the Known Spheres and would never know it (he always thought his father was a miner on Greela, his homeworld, who died long before Raken was old enough to remember him). He's similar to Julio the Airship captain from Order of the Stick (although his crew isn't all female ;) )
I like this alot, and as far as I'm concerned it's Jammers canon... though I don't mind adding The Karken at some point... :)

He also reminds me of Elrohir Amroth, whose made occasional appearances in the game. :)

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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:10 pm

night_druid wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:36 pm
Here's a new project I've been trying to get off the ground for years. I'm modeling these sphere guides after the Volo's Guides, which I'm a fan of. Its very much a work in progress and I wouldn't mind hearing some feedback. For these, I'm tackling spheres such as Winter, Way, Heart, and Refuge; places that have gotten some coverage in novels & supplementary materials, but never given a proper treatment. Just my take on these places, nothing more. Be aware that this is more of an "in-character" guide, much like the Volo's guides, and thus should be considered unreliable.

As a side note, I came up with the Kraken as the identity of my character, Raken's father. Raken wouldn't know this, and it doesn't play a part in the game, and probably not even "official" (if Paul cares). The Kraken has fathered dozens, probably hundreds, of children, so Raken is likely to have half-sibblings all over the Known Spheres and would never know it (he always thought his father was a miner on Greela, his homeworld, who died long before Raken was old enough to remember him). He's similar to Julio the Airship captain from Order of the Stick (although his crew isn't all female ;) )
This is a brilliant idea!

I'd love to see these turned into PDFs at some point.
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:22 pm

Jaid wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:54 am
right, so i'm a compulsive proofreader (not that my typical typing pattern necessarily shows it), so.... i'll just stick that part at the end, shall i?
Gasp! You dare question the perfection of my work? ;)

This is awesome, Jaid! Thank you! :cool: I'll make the necessary fixes to the master document tonight :)

looking interesting. i especially like the sun being a bit more accessible than usual... i think it might be fun to have at least a few more adventure hooks than 'nothing good here, move along', because of how much more accessible it feels. i mean, yeah, you need some fairly powerful magic (either something to shield the entire ship and any crew that will be exiting from heat, or means to teleport to the surface and come back later), but compared to the usual requirements that's pretty negligible.
I'm not sure if I'm "done" with the sun. Its far enough along that I could mark it done, but if ideas hit me, I can always expand and add more in.

of course, some of the parts you've indicated you expect to be the most interesting, you haven't really filled in yet (or at least, you haven't posted it if you have), so i expect it will get more interesting. if you want those proofread too, let us know which parts you've updated and i'll mention what i notice as i read them too :P
Lots of stuff is in the "half-way" phase or less; part of posting it is to force me to keep working on it. I'll indicate when changes are made. :)

after "A Word from the Kraken" paragraph, you should probably add a blank line before the introduction ;)
Posting here wrecks havoc with my formatting. The word doc is much prettier ;)
you talk about the flow river to winterspace. not sure you ever address where it comes from, beyond the fact that it also goes to heartspace and as such presumably you can travel between the two.
Its really a passage from The Radiant Dragon, where the navigator talks about the rivers leading to Winterspace. All that's really stated is that they are small, very fast, and very difficult to find. We know one can get to Winterspace from Realmspace, and from Winterspace to Heartspace, but everything else is unknown. I don't want to tie it down too tightly so that if George the GM wants to have say Georgespace linking to Winterspace, it violates nothing. ;)

blizzard nebulas: this isn't "wrong", but a bit of a pet peeve: you use 'practically' twice in the same sentence within a few words. i prefer a bit more variety, personally :P
Bad habit of mine. I try to catch it when it happens but sometimes they slip out. Also, I frequently rewrite whole passages and sometimes the wording gets jumbled in the rewrites.
also, you mention it taking "a few minutes" from the first sign of a blizzard nebula to any frost... that is quite a while to respond, not sure if you intended it to be something where you have several rounds before you need to worry at all. lastly, you've got 'advert' where i think you want 'avoid'. the third (small) paragraph of blizzard nebulas has an extra space before the period at the end of it.
I want to avoid "trap with no warning" type encounters. For an inexperienced crew, they might stare in wonder at the sight and then <wham!> ice storm. For experienced crews, they should have enough time to realize the trap and course correct to avoid the hazard. And I probably mangled the wording. :)

<snip stuff I'll fix tonight :) >
'So why come to Crushport?' (not gonna lie, i like crushport better, but if you're gonna call it crushship you should probably be consistent :P you use crushport in the next line as well, btw)
Hmmm, I didn't even realized I used "Crushport"; that was entirely unintentional of me. But, it does have a little better ring to it than Crushship. Crushport it is.
'said to be guarded by a guardian deamon' (demon would be standard D&D, daemon would be standard vaguely-fantasyish speak, deamon just looks weird).
Mis-spelling; Guardian Daemon. Its a monster from the old 2e Monstrous Compendium that hardly ever got used. I'm not entirely sure it ever made it into later books. :)

Thanks again Jaid! I'll work on it tonight and clean the working up :)
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:27 pm

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:30 am
I like this alot, and as far as I'm concerned it's Jammers canon... though I don't mind adding The Karken at some point... :)
No problem. I'll eventually have him & the Crimson Kraken written up. I imagine him to be a fighter/thief of the 9th-12th-ish area. Align? CN? <shrug> Not "evil" per say, not good, but a rogue, pirate, smuggler, scoundrel, you get the picture :) Loves to travel, thus the excuse for him being the author of said travelogues.
He also reminds me of Elrohir Amroth, whose made occasional appearances in the game. :)
Probably. Hell, I'm sure the two have crossed paths at some point. Friends? Foes? Does it matter to them? (aka I don't care, I'll leave all that vague for whatever you want to do) :P
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:28 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:10 pm
This is a brilliant idea!

I'd love to see these turned into PDFs at some point.
Thanks, Big Mac! :) I intend to transfer them into a PDF format at some point. Right now I'm trying to get at least one finished (I'm working on two, and plan at least two more).
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:34 pm

Oh, btw, one big reason I'm going the route of a smuggler/pirate as the narrator of these guides is to give more the perspective of what kind of trade goes on in space. Thus he'll be more focused on the imports/exports of particular planets, and less so on "the planet has a nickel-iron core" pseudo-science that crept into Practical Plantetology/Sphere Guides TSR put out. Oh, and of course, the all-important listings of the best taverns, inns, and brothels a sphere has to offer! :D
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by GMWestermeyer » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:55 pm

night_druid wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:34 pm
Oh, btw, one big reason I'm going the route of a smuggler/pirate as the narrator of these guides is to give more the perspective of what kind of trade goes on in space. Thus he'll be more focused on the imports/exports of particular planets, and less so on "the planet has a nickel-iron core" pseudo-science that crept into Practical Plantetology/Sphere Guides TSR put out. Oh, and of course, the all-important listings of the best taverns, inns, and brothels a sphere has to offer! :D
Good thought! Think 'free trader' not just 'smuggler.' Smuggler are usually darker then we imagine. In order to make smuggling profitable the cargo has to have a high profit margin. That means alcohol, drugs, weapons, or slaves historically. In fantasy space it could mean all of those things, plus undead and magic. In either case it also means passengers. The other variable that makers smuggling possible is government and taxes. A free wheeling port like Bral, for example, isn't someplace a smuggler likes. The taxes are so low and easily avoided that smuggling has no profit margin compared to legitimate trade. It does work well as a home port and source of goods to smuggle elsewhere, of course. And for free traders its a treasure. :)

Of course, this write up really works all that in, I especially liked the Armistice section. :)

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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:19 pm

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:55 pm
Good thought! Think 'free trader' not just 'smuggler.' Smuggler are usually darker then we imagine. In order to make smuggling profitable the cargo has to have a high profit margin. That means alcohol, drugs, weapons, or slaves historically. In fantasy space it could mean all of those things, plus undead and magic. In either case it also means passengers. The other variable that makers smuggling possible is government and taxes. A free wheeling port like Bral, for example, isn't someplace a smuggler likes. The taxes are so low and easily avoided that smuggling has no profit margin compared to legitimate trade. It does work well as a home port and source of goods to smuggle elsewhere, of course. And for free traders its a treasure. :)
Free trader is probably closer to my mindset, I think.
Of course, this write up really works all that in, I especially liked the Armistice section. :)
You just love Crushship/port ;)

I did acknowledge the events of Radiant Dragon, but downplayed the ending that effectively destroyed the world. I *hate* it when game companies sell you a setting, and then a few months/years later blow it up/destroy what was written. So I went with "OK, it ate all the orcs in the lair it was hidden in, but when it went outside, the harsh conditions killed it off." Probably still some secondaries & tendaries running amuck, though.
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by Lord Torath » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:47 pm

I'll just throw some further proofreading in here:

From the paragraph just before Blizzard Nebulae: This navy rarely ventures further than high orbit from Radole.

I think you want farther here, not further. Farther refers to distance, while further refers to going beyond less tangible boundaries. I can measure a meaningful distance from Radole to high orbit. I can't measure a meaningful distance from Jaid's proofreading to my proofreading. (I learned this watching "Finding Forrester")

More on Blizzard Nebulae... Do they slow you down from spelljamming to tactical speed? If not, they you're going to need to increase their size. Spelljamming speed will whip past a couple hundred miles in the wink of an eye. ;)

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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:59 am

Lord Torath wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:47 pm
I'll just throw some further proofreading in here:

From the paragraph just before Blizzard Nebulae: This navy rarely ventures further than high orbit from Radole.

I think you want farther here, not further. Farther refers to distance, while further refers to going beyond less tangible boundaries. I can measure a meaningful distance from Radole to high orbit. I can't measure a meaningful distance from Jaid's proofreading to my proofreading. (I learned this watching "Finding Forrester")

More on Blizzard Nebulae... Do they slow you down from spelljamming to tactical speed? If not, they you're going to need to increase their size. Spelljamming speed will whip past a couple hundred miles in the wink of an eye. ;)
Good catch, making fixes now. Thanks Lord Torath. Not sure I'll have everything updated tonight (family issues have me a little distracted) but I'll get what I can done. :)
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:11 am

First post (sphere intro) has been updated with feedback thus far :)
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by Jaid » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:29 am

heh, if you want a fun thing to read that will probably keep you from making a specific common mistake, try this:

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2 ... thing.html

i bet you'll have a much easier time remembering that a lot is two words :)

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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by GMWestermeyer » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:41 pm

night_druid wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:19 pm
I did acknowledge the events of Radiant Dragon, but downplayed the ending that effectively destroyed the world. I *hate* it when game companies sell you a setting, and then a few months/years later blow it up/destroy what was written. So I went with "OK, it ate all the orcs in the lair it was hidden in, but when it went outside, the harsh conditions killed it off." Probably still some secondaries & tendaries running amuck, though.
That makes a ton of sense, to me. I'm not an anime fan, and I don't think world destroying magics fit this setting anyway.
But what you described makes sense, I imagine Witchlight Marauders were used against moons and asteroids, massive planets like Toril, for example. Armistice is Size F, pretty large. The Maruader pretty much devastated one continent and filled it with secondary and tertiary marauders, IMO, but that's about it.

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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by night_druid » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:22 pm

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:41 pm
That makes a ton of sense, to me. I'm not an anime fan, and I don't think world destroying magics fit this setting anyway.
But what you described makes sense, I imagine Witchlight Marauders were used against moons and asteroids, massive planets like Toril, for example. Armistice is Size F, pretty large. The Maruader pretty much devastated one continent and filled it with secondary and tertiary marauders, IMO, but that's about it.
I sorta don't see even that level of destruction. I'm thinking something along the lines of: they wiped out one (admittedly vast) cave complex, but scarcity of food + harsh conditions killed off the primary marauder. A handful of secondaries & tertiary marauders survived and now stalk in the shadows. Every now and again they come across a lair and wipe it out, but so infrequently that other tribes come in, find a lair deserted, and set up shop. The marauders are boogie-men to the humanoids; to be feared, can take out small lairs and waylay small bands, but not a world-killing threat. Eventually they'll die off (being there's only a handful of secondaries left; perhaps no more than 20) but in the meantime they are just another danger on an already inhospitable world.
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Re: Kraken's Guide to Winterspace

Post by GMWestermeyer » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:48 pm

night_druid wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:22 pm
GMWestermeyer wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:41 pm
That makes a ton of sense, to me. I'm not an anime fan, and I don't think world destroying magics fit this setting anyway.
But what you described makes sense, I imagine Witchlight Marauders were used against moons and asteroids, massive planets like Toril, for example. Armistice is Size F, pretty large. The Maruader pretty much devastated one continent and filled it with secondary and tertiary marauders, IMO, but that's about it.
I sorta don't see even that level of destruction. I'm thinking something along the lines of: they wiped out one (admittedly vast) cave complex, but scarcity of food + harsh conditions killed off the primary marauder. A handful of secondaries & tertiary marauders survived and now stalk in the shadows. Every now and again they come across a lair and wipe it out, but so infrequently that other tribes come in, find a lair deserted, and set up shop. The marauders are boogie-men to the humanoids; to be feared, can take out small lairs and waylay small bands, but not a world-killing threat. Eventually they'll die off (being there's only a handful of secondaries left; perhaps no more than 20) but in the meantime they are just another danger on an already inhospitable world.
Perfectly defensible. I'd have to reread the monster description. A LOT of SJ monsters have abilities that don't deliver on the flavor text. The Marauders were the most glaring example of this, IMO.

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