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 dark-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.
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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



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
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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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