Clusterspace: Grubbport

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Clusterspace: Grubbport

Post by night_druid »

For grins, I created a "home port" or "starting city" for Clusterspace. Note that this city reflects my own personal changes to Clusterspace, such as modifying the Antilan/Illithid conflict into more of an Antilan civil war, with the illithids pulling the strings behind the scenes instead of openly warring with the Antilans, and the swapping of the roles of elves and neogi. Named, of course, for the godfather of Spelljammer. ;)

A typical Inner Ring port, Grubbport is a neutral asteroid city-state of humans and humanoids. The rock that Grubbport is built on is quite large, over eight miles across, with swaths of the asteroid covered by dense forests of fast growing palm trees to replenish the air. Thanks to plentiful sunlight, Grubbport has a sub-tropical to tropical climate, with water supplied by magical means.

Grubbport is an unwalled city of about seventeen thousand. All civilized races are welcomed. A council of noble families, dominated by the Coronlia, Winterstar, and Tellaris elven families, runs the day-to-day operations of the city. Grubbport is a neutral port, and as such will see its share of elven merchants, orc pirates, antilan mages, dwarven mercenaries, calidian traders, and even neogi slavers.

History: The rock that Grubbport is built upon is almost identical to millions of other similar rocks throughout the Inner Ring. By chance it was an oasis, with a dense forest of palm, date, and similar trees. The fauna were exclusively grubs that enriched the soil. No records exist of who first discovered it, but the rock has sported one or more colony for dozens of cycles. Too small to draw the attention of the Antilan Empire, it became a haven for smugglers and pirates.

At the onset of the Antilan Civil War, Grubbport grew in size and importance, as refugees from the conflict scattered in search of every safe port they could find. Escaped slaves and disposed nobles alike made their way to Grubbport, seeking sanctuary from a war borne of madness. The ruling house at the time, the Redsails, became wealthy beyond their dreams by offering safe passage, for a price. Rebellious nobles used Grubbport as their port-of-call for cycles. These were betrayed by Prince Dathian Redsail, who departed Grubbport shortly before a fleet of Antilan warships showed up to seize control of the city. For weeks afterwards, rebels were hung by the dozens, and the population became defacto slaves to the Empire.

The Antilans reign of terror lasted a cycle. Yet the Antilans’ conquest of Grubbport came in the waning days of the Civil War. The elves were busy hammering out the final terms of a treaty that would see to the war’s end. Antilan armies were already withdrawing from the Inner Ring, and elven houses moved in. Hundreds of ports would be abandoned by the Antilans, transferring ownership to elven hands. In Grubbport’s case, three elven merchant houses took over the government. The richest merchant houses were granted noble status, and invited to join the government council.

Grubbport is a neutral port, as per the conditions of the peace treaty. All ships are welcomed, so long as they obey certain laws and do not cause trouble. Thus antilans, neogi, and illithids all can trade at Grubbport. Piracy is illegal, although often ignored so long as there is profit to be had. Slavery is legal to the chagrin of the elves, who try to minimize the trade as much as possible.

Trouble is brewing at Grubbport. The neogi are growing ever bolder in their slaving operations. Press gangs wander the streets, looking for their latest victims. Pirates are preying upon the shipping lanes vital to Grubbport’s survival. Worst of all are rumors of Prince Dathian Redsail’s return, seeking to reassert his family’s ancestral claim to Grubbport. The traitor-prince is said to have Antilan sponsors and is busy raising an army of orog mercenaries to reclaim the throne by force.

Grubbport at a Glance
The City: Grubbport sprawls over four square miles. The city has no walls, as such defenses are meaningless. Instead the city is dotted with squat bastions from which defenders can fight back an invasion. The neighborhoods closest to the Docks are considered the lower city, while the city’s wealthy and nobility dwell in the upper city, surrounding the Sunrise Palace. The city’s population is mostly human and halfling, the human portion made up of a mix of all the races in Clusterspace.

The Antilan Tower: This broad tower has sloping sides, giving it the appearance of an inverted funnel or cone with its tip lobbed off. The city’s remaining Antilans reside in the tower, which can house up to one thousand people. The master of the tower is Tilchan of the Second Sunrise, a Sun Mage of some power. Tilchan is remarkably friendly and outgoing for an Antilan, and acts as peace-maker between the Antilans and other races. He is wealthy from selling many magic items and on the Council of nobles.

The Catacombs: Corpses are frequently buried at the far side of the asteroid, where they quickly decompose thanks to the grubs. Individuals of means are laid to rest in the catacombs. The lowest levels are said to be haunted.

The Crystal Bastion: This edifice of stone and crystal was built to house a battalion of Antilan marines. It now houses a battalion of elves, humans, and dwarves under the control of the Council. In times of war it can house a further one thousand in its donjon levels. It bristles with catapults, ballista, wild-fire projectors, and bombards. The city jail is located in the lowest levels of the donjon.

The Docks: A network of wooden and stone docks extends into wildspace along the gravity plane along Grubbport’s trailing edge. Cargo is loaded into wagons and transported to nearby warehouses for storage. Docking fees are a standard 1 s.p. per 10 tons of ship, per day docked.

Drydock: A large cavern carved into the size of the asteroid is big enough to allow up to six large ships to undergo repairs at the same time. The workers can repair any standard human or elven ship for the normal repair fees. The work crews are of average quality.

The Elven Market: This meadow is surrounded by a ring of dozens of large shadowoak trees, with houses built into their branches. Here one will find some of the finest goods from across Clusterspace as well as goods from other spheres. The elven merchants are notoriously ruthless and thought to hire agents to eliminate any competition elsewhere in the city. The Elven Market is surrounded by the tree-homes of the city’s elf population of twelve hundred.

The Fortress: An old Antilan defensive structure, the Fortress was handed over to an enclave of giff that settled in Grubbport. The Fortress’ defenses are surprisingly well-maintained, with two towers sporting bombards to ward off invaders. A full battalion of giff dwells in the Fortress.

The Garden: When the elves took over Grubbport, they leveled a large, squalid camp used house thousands of slaves and planted hundreds of imported trees. The Garden sports the largest trees on the asteroid, thanks to many plant growth spells. The Garden is a park open to all races, with pathways on the ground and arboreal. Every so often a corpse is found in the dense underbrush, a victim of the shady dealings all to common in the Garden.

Gnomewerks: A small enclave of gnomes has built an ever-shifting maze of townhouses and warehouses across two city blocks. Enormous glass tubes punctuate the area, habit-trails for the giant space hamsters that power their machines. Four hundred of the clever inventors are found in Gnomewerks. A fully-staffed fire crew is stationed nearby to handle the inevitable “accident”.

The Great Market: The largest of Grubbport’s open-air markets, the Great Market is not far from the Docks. Here one will find goods from across Clusterspace sold in one of the many stores or by street peddlers. The Great Market is heavily patrolled to discourage pick-pockets and property damage.

The Lagoon: A large, shallow pool lined with trees in the shadow of the Fortress, the Lagoon is a gathering spot for giff and lizardmen. The enormous humanoids relax in the pool’s cool waters, trading war stories and treating old wounds.

Mangroves District: This swampy grove of mangroves is home to the city’s lizardman enclave. The huts outwardly appear primitive yet are comfortable and breezy inside. Huts are multi-story and joined by suspension bridges. In all, five hundred lizardmen live in the Mangroves District.

Neogi Market: A provision of the peace treaty that ended the war created the Grubbport slave market. Finding the practice distasteful, they turned over the running of the market to the neogi, who were most neutral of the various belligerents in the war. Slaves of all kinds, from pit fighters and charmed monsters to delicate pleasure slaves, are bought and sold by the neogi. No race is immune from becoming slaves; even unfortunate elves find their way to the market. The neogi market is the stuff of nightmares and avoided by most residents. The Smiling Neogi Nub’r is the owner of the market.

The Quarry Halls: The stone used to build much of Grubbport’s buildings was extracted from this quarry, leaving behind a series of interconnected underground halls. Dwarves moved into the area and expanded the mines into living quarters. Quarry Halls is home to about eight hundred dwarves, evenly divided between craftsmen and mercenaries. Ithul Darkshield handles contracts for dwarven mercenaries and is the nominal leader of the enclave.

Red Street: Located near the Dock, Red Street is named for its red-brick cobblestone and famous for the various dens of ill-repute that line it. Here people can find company for the night, for the right price. The area is only lightly policed by the watchmen, if at all.

The Sunrise Palace: The former residence of Redsail family is this spacious, luxurious palace of limestone and marble is surrounded by acres of garden-like grounds. The Coronlia elven family now claims the Palace and has started altering it to suit their tastes.

Temple Rise: This large hill is crowded with the temples and shrines to every deity of Clusterspace. Clerics of opposed faiths constantly skirmish over every slight, no matter how petty. A small fortress is located at the summit, occupied by a squadron of the city watch. The squadron keeps the peace on the hill and is frequently summoned to break up fights between clerics.

The Theater: A large square building capable of housing two thousand paying customers, the theater hosts everything from plays and operas to gladiatorial pit fights and monster-taming demonstrations. A troupe of illusionists are on-hand to help create ‘special effects’ for events with high-paying guests.

The Navy
The core of Grubbport’s navy is a fleet of six elven Man-o-Wars, supplied by the trio of elven noble houses. Bolstering the elven ships is a number of hired human vessels – twelve squidships and eight hammerships. These are manned by a mix of human, dwarf, halfling, and lizardmen crews. Boarding actions are handled by a company of giff mercenaries. A swarm of twelve wasps are used as patrol vessels within Grubbport’s atmosphere and its immediate vicinity.

The City Watch
Grubbport is patrolled by squadrons of watchmen, up to twelve strong. At least one member of the squad will have magical abilities, most often a wizard of some ability. Leaders will be armed with a useful magical item. If pressed, squadrons will call upon reinforcements. The total number of watchmen is a state secret, but suspected to be about 240 or so. In addition, the city will hire dwarf and giff mercenaries to quell any problem too big for the watchmen to handle alone.

Factions and Folk
Guild of High Arcana: All resident wizards of certain ability (4th level) and higher are required to register at the Guild, with the option of joining. Membership grants guild members free housing and discounted magical training in exchange for participation in the city’s defense.

The Black Masks: A major headache for the Watch is the various thieves’ guilds running around the city. The Black Masks are most notorious. Most mistake them for Antilan saboteurs; the Black Masks are behind innumerable thefts across the city. Their leader is the mysterious Man in the Shimmering Mask.

Man-at-Arms Guild: A mercenary guild that takes all volunteers and pairs them with clients looking to throw them at whatever problem that vexes them. The mercenaries are gathered into company-sized formations before being shipped out. Those that survive join more elite companies that command higher prices. In all matters, the Man-at-Arms give preference to the Council and defense of the city over all other clients.
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Re: Clusterspace: Grubbport

Post by Jaid »

night_druid wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:29 pm
For grins, I created a "home port" or "starting city" for Clusterspace. Note that this city reflects my own personal changes to Clusterspace, such as modifying the Antilan/Illithid conflict into more of an Antilan civil war, with the illithids pulling the strings behind the scenes instead of openly warring with the Antilans, and the swapping of the roles of elves and neogi. Named, of course, for the godfather of Spelljammer. ;)

paragraph 2: "...and as such will see [sees] its share of..."

History: "...the rock has sported one or more colony for..." (colonies)

paragraph 2: "...and disposed nobles alike..." (dispossessed)

"...a war borne of madness." (had to do some research to confirm a gut feeling; borne is used for carrying, born is used for birth... and in this case, I'm pretty sure it would be born ;) )

Grubbport at a glance

The City: "The city has no walls, as such defenses are meaningless." (I'm not entirely convinced this is true in an asteroid of this size; in most cases, there will be good places to dock, and bad places to dock. a wall positioned between the good places and the bad places can actually protect the good places from a boarding action. certainly in the spelljammer setting it is easier to imagine ways around this - say, marines rappelling down lines dropped from a ship, or a squad being dropped off using a feather fall spell. but still, I imagine it is much easier to launch an assault when you can land ground troops in large numbers and move them freely in and out than it would be if you could only drop off a small number of special forces and it was difficult to retrieve them).

(though I could certainly imagine, given the likely rulers, they might have decided it wasn't worth the cost of building walls to them personally. I'm sure they dug out an underground shelter for their own use, of course...)

"...the human portion [being] made up of..."

The Antilan Tower: "He is wealthy from selling many magic items[,] and [is] on the Council of nobles."

The Docks: "...into wildspace along the gravity plane along Grubbport’s trailing edge." (suggest changing the first "along" to "aligned with" purely for the sake of word variety)

Drydock: "A large cavern carved into the size of the..." (side, not size)

The Elven Market: "...notoriously ruthless and [are] thought to hire..."

The Garden: "...they leveled a large, squalid camp [that] used [to] house thousands..." (I think that's what you were aiming for, more or less)

"...pathways on the ground and arboreal." (arboreal is an adjective, not a noun; as written, you have pathways on the ground, and pathways on the arboreal, which makes no sense... should just be "in the treetops" or something to that effect)

"...shady dealings all to common..." (too, not to)

Gnomewerks: "...habit-trails for..." (Habitrail is actually a brand name. If this is written by an in-universe author, it doesn't entirely fit, but if this is written by the narrator for out-of-universe types, it would be Habitrail)

" handle the inevitable “accident”." (accidents)

Neogi Market: "Finding the practice distasteful, they turned..." ("they" are presumably "the elves"?)

"...who were [the] most neutral of..."

"...No race is immune from becoming..." (to, not from)

The Sunrise Palace: "...residence of [the] Redsail family[,] is this spacious..."

"...crowded with the temples and shrines to every..." (two options: remove "the" or "of" instead of "to")

The Navy: "...Bolstering the elven ships is a number..." (are, not is)

The City Watch: "...patrolled by squadrons of watchmen..." (squad; a squadron is usually mounted or a group of vehicles)

Factions and Folk

Guild of High Arcana: "All resident wizards of [a] certain ability..."

The Black Masks: "...for the Watch is the various thieves’ guilds..." (are, not is)

(also, it's a bit confusing that they're the black masks, but their leader is the man in the shimmering mask)


and with that, I think I'm all caught up :)

(to be honest, I don't remember a lot about Clusterspace though; when I lost my books, it wasn't one of the ones I felt an urgent need to buy again)

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