Friday 28 March 2014

Noble Curiosities

Some interesting people and situations regarding the nobility.

1. Wife who quarrels constantly with her husband's mistress. She plays pranks to humiliate them publicly including having them followed by dung throwing urchins and on one memorable occasion, arranging it so that all he clothes fell to pieces at a major ball.

2. Elven bastard daughter of the King, is exiled in the city, plans to escape and overthrow her 'evil' father.

3. The scheming landed nobles that own the counties surrounding the blonks portal are constantly competing for control of the major thoroughfare between the river and the portal. They build new roads through their territory, raid each others roads and pay seemingly numberless urchins to misdirect traders onto their lords road. 

When arriving at the landing point, 3 roads lead off in similar directions, all signposted the same. Travellers are approached by many urchins begging coin for directions. Any who refuse help should expect barricades, detours in the wrong direction, armed escorts onto the 'correct' road etc. Of course, once past the tolling booth for the appropriate county they will be able to continue unmolested. 

4. Unguent Crell has given a vast sum of money to a charitable organisation, only  to find out it was a front for a group of smugglers and money launderers. He has started campaigning against the group, even going so far as to pay people to disrupt their activities.

5. Batard de Jucee has ordered his personal guard to surround and escort his daughter Yeriel around at all times. They are becoming quite a nuisance around the city by blocking alleys. Yeriel is looking more and more depressed every day, but no one can get close enough to her to find out what's wrong.

6. Servants of Sterwyn Lanhaller keep turning up dead. Lord Lanhaller publicly offered a reward to find the culprit, only to find out that it is his lover Alonquin who is killing to cover up their affair.

7. The orcan seaclans are holding their vicennial moot in the city. Naked orcs (few orcs wear clothing on the seas, but all city orcs have taken up the custom of wearing clothing) are swarming all over the city. The nobility are scandalised.

8. A number of shopkeepers  have noticed strange new coins issuing from the servants of several unconnected noble houses. The coins bear an almost porcine portrait of a woman on one side, and what looks to be an octopus on the other. Once these coins are distributed evenly amongst the population of the city, they will activate and suck the light into them.
9. Several young scions of rival houses were recently caught meeting in secret and and plotting against their families. As a punishment, the four young women and two young men have been chained together for a month. Hilarity ensues whenever they are spotted around the city.
10. In order to show their piety and to stay connected to the people, many guildleaders and nobles attend the home hearths. They spend vast sums on the patronage of artists, sculptors and architects to improve the home hearths to glorify the goddess (and of course, themselves). Two families in particular strive to outdo each other, building larger and larger temples to glorify Anwyn.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Through the Portals

There are a small number of stable, and an indeterminate amount of unstable portals in the vicinity of the rock.

The original portal discovered by Thenim Baytree opens onto a seemingly endless plain of tuberous vegetables and lazy brown rivers. Strings of towns line the rivers leading to cities at the foot of a vast mountain chain that spans the continent.  Barges ply the sluggish rivers and quite a port has sprung up a day's wagon ride from the portal, transporting goods to the city. Shanty towns often spring up outside the portal but marshals of the duke regularly destroy these illegal settlements as they provide no tax income. Although deaths are rare, the marshals are ruthless in their destruction, burning the buildings to the ground. The region around the portal is known as Blonks, populated by small farming communities of Halflings

Far to the south of the Blonks portal, on a large island, lies the goblin portal. Buried underground, in close proximity to the large goblin city of Weinhold. The portal opens above a roaring torrent that forms one of the many underground rivers that power the goblins technology. This watercourse is also the source of the city's water. A stone aqueduct begins here, carrying water to the city and its inhabitants. Beyond the great cities and dams of the goblins, lies the human realm of Trinnidin, a stern folk in constant conflict with the goblins over their practices of damming the rivers the Trinnidin use to irrigate their lands.

Only three portals are in constant, public use on the rock, and the final one leads to the swamps of Kohlness. The Kobolds of Kohlness had a mixed reaction to contact through the portal as they had previously been isolated in the swamps. It didn't take long for many tribes to start trading fish and herbs to the newcomers. Nowadays trade has civilised many Kobold tribes and trade routes have been even been forged through the swamp to the elven nation of Faireshade.
There are other portals of course;

  •   The Day Palace lies on an ocean world, or at least a world in which no other land has been yet discovered. It’s portal is accessed from the Night Palace.
  •  Odeosa Fhrambrey has a portal to a micro world where he attempts experiments in cross breeding sentient species.
  •  The Siren’s portal is permenantly barred. Massive chains and bars prevent anyone from entering the portal. No amount of barriers can prevent the hauntingly beautful songs issuing from the portal, passers by have been known to stop and listen for hours.
  • The serene portal is seen only as bright green and blue disc, about 300 meters off the edge of the rock. A few mages and spelunkers have succeeded in reaching the portal, but none will report what they found.
  •  Occasionally small portals open on the rock, most seem to lead nowhere but rarely, other worlds can be glimpsed through the portals. It is rarer still that someone returns after entering such portals.

Monday 3 March 2014

The Anchor

In several Nocte neighbourhoods, massive chains, with links the size of a horse, can be seen randomly piercing walls and spanning streets. These chains hold up parts of Nocte that jut out over the edge and have allowed people to build wider and higher than would otherwise be possible. Most of the chains originate from the Anchor, a great spire of rock jutting from the surface of Nocte. Although it is completely covered in structures, it is still a visible feature of the city as it is the highest point on the rock.

Almost all links from the Anchor are covered by buildings, but those that are exposed to the rain corrode. In the past, these links were painted to protect them from the elements, but the Guild of Engineers who originally constructed and maintained the links have become complacent. Although founded to construct and maintain the massive engineering works that make the city, the engineers grew wealthy and lazy.
The Guild of Engineers no longer contains engineers, only the rich decedents of the people who made the guild great. Many public works around the city are decaying, from the chains of the Anchor to the rock itself. For many years excavations into the rock have been banned by the guild, in fear of destroying the structural integrity of the rock, but again, the guild has become lax and people have once again, started burrowing into the rock to create more living space for its inhabitants.

Some random plot hooks involving the Anchor and its chains.
1.       A mysterious young man in bizarre leather overalls asks the party to travel to far Haridam, where he has found a source of a magical salve that can turn rust back into iron.
2.       In the quietest hour of the day, a gang of hooded kobolds is discovered hacking away at one of the links. If they are successful, entire blocks of the city could collapse.
3.       Posters go up around the city declaring that a new chain will be constructed, fostering a new era of growth in the city. A vast sum of money is needed and donations are sought. Of course, the originator has other plans for the money.
4.       A lone bureaucrat attempts to inspect the Anchor, the source of the chains, to determine what decay is occurring. Unfortunately a street gang has taken residence in the Anchor and are not responding well to people trying to barge in.
5.       Ignation DeFleury, a member of the Delver's Guild, has a harebrained scheme to build new chains dangling from the underside of the rock. If they can be attached, massive amounts of housing could be constructed for a tidy profit. Potential locations on the underside must be scouted, never mind the flocks of giant bats and other nasties inhabiting the underside. If only Ignation hadn't broken his leg at the last 'giant balloon croquet tournament with refreshments', he would obviously do it himself.
6.       A naked man is found, hanged by his own knee length hair fashioned into a noose, dangling from one of the links above a busy street. Painted on his body are the words 'The day will soon come when all of the sinners hang from the Anchor'. It is unclear why the sinners will dangle from the Anchor specifically, nor which religion's sinners will hang.