Thornwall Keep (CN large town; Skylands Magical Plutocratic Council; 4,898 pop.)
Corruption +4; Crime +5; Economy +9; Law +4; Lore +3; Society -3 (more info)
Qualities magically attuned, mining town (Corruption +1, Crime +2, Economy +15, Law +5, Society -2) prosperous, rustic (Crime -4, Economy -3, Lore +2, Society +2, spellcasting -2)
Danger +4; Disadvantages extremely isolated (desert oasis; magical flight inhibited for 150 miles - Corruption +1, Economy -3, Society -5, Danger -2), limited natural resource (game, farming, water, wood - Crime +4, Economy -4 [+1 to Crime and -1 to Economy for each limited resource], Corruption +2, Danger +1)
Racial Breakdown Auranathi 4%, Chimera <1%, Clockwork <1%, Dagdarra 0%, Dragonkin <1%, Dwarves 11%, Faerie 1%, Goblins 8%, Gryphons 4%, Humans 14%, Jessai’id 4%, Kitsune 1%, Maldorin <1%, Netharen <1%, Orthoc 8%, Pegasai 3%, Tahvic 6%, Taireen <1%, Terrmorah 4%, Thaylene 9%, Trolls 6%, Whimsies 3%, Wolfen (Arven - <1%, Breiden - 1%, Mayrene - 11%, Ramessin - 0%), and Zeryn 1%. (amounts of <1%, in total, add up to 1%)
NOTABLE NPCs (alphabetical by first name; excluding those the PCs have not met or heard of)
Alyisse Wade, Headmistress of the Salaxis School of Arcane Mastery (f. red (mayrene) wolfen 13th arcanist)
Ayne Pais, High Archivist of the Salaxis School of Arcane Mastery (f. human 11th arcanist)
Comisse Stonehill, Lady High Councillor (overseer of arcane matters) (f. human 9th arcanist)
Montag Satchin Feldspar, Lord High Councillor (overseer of the mines and senior partner in ownership of Cathar Dwarven Mining) (m. dwarf)
Satilde, madam and owner of Evershade Bathhouse (m-trans. red (mayrene) wolfen)
Selig, Master skulk and information broker for Thornwall’s High Council (m. kitsune rogue)
Shaelus Cormoranni, local healer and seer who lives outside the boundaries of “Down Below” (prejudiced against orthoc) (m. human 7th witch) – yellow boa constrictor familiar, Eleib
Stehven Corde, Lord High Councillor (overseer of defense) (m. orthoc)
Tamour Seychall, Saya, “Morning” General of Thornwall’s Defenses (f. auranathi 6th/2nd fighter/knight) - wife of Ular Seychall
Teigh Stand, Lord High Councillor (overseer of trade) (m. red (mayrene) wolfen)
Ular Seychall, Sir, “Evening” General of Thornwall’s Defenses (m. auranathi 6th/2nd fighter/knight) - husband of Tamour Seychall
Base Value 3,000 gp; Purchase Limit 17,000 gp; Spellcasting 5th
Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 2d4; Major Items 1d4
Thornwall Keep, a powerful and wealthy city-state, floats above the rocky desert, Indramael: the Coldwaste Expanse. A nexus of commerce in the elemental crystal trade, it is ruled by a high council of six: representing the varied interests of the settlement. The streets and buildings of Down Below are close-knit and claustrophobic. Six blocks thick and arranged in a circle between stone fortifications on the outside and a massive wall of thorns on the inside, Down Below is home to miners, traders, craftspeople, metal smiths, elementalists, and travelers. Six suspension bridges reach from the city streets to the floating, walled keep, some hundred-twenty feet above. Beneath it is a crumbling, steep hole: the Elemental Devastation. In its depths rests a shadow-strewn lake, Shadowreach, and its solitary island, Stonehall’s Rest. Over a hundred years ago, the powerful Stonehall Keep was raised into the air by two powerful spellcasters: an arcanist and the High Druid, Arahn Kell.
Stonehall and its mines were under siege by a coalition of brigands united under the banner of a disgraced and desperate raider captain: the pegasi, Talanya Crane. Jealous of those able to forge more lucrative trade deals, she gathered the destitute and criminal of Indramael in a two-year attempt to take the mines for themselves. In the end, the wall of thorns was raised and the keep, itself, lifted beyond reach. Dismayed and overcome, the brigands scattered and their leader was captured, tried, and executed. But the magics that transformed solid, powerful Stonehall into floating, imperious Thornwall had ravaged the desert. A region for over a hundred-fifty miles in every direction is now called "Arahn's Lasting Reach": a cursed zone that stymies and corrupts all aerial magic brought into it. With skyships unable to make an easy or safe approach, only land routes now connect Thornwall Keep with the outside world.
Summary of the Game Session:
The Seekers arrived at the edge of Evershade Oasis outside (and to the north of) the Oasis Inn and Stables. There, they met Palmeraye Sohnne and some of his caravan members for dinner as they rest after the long day of getting their shipments logged and stored before sales can begin. The caravan crew are more than a bit rattled by the recent goings-on in Thornwall and are sharing rumors they have heard about during their time, here, so far:
Rumors abound that there is a “bat-winged horror” seeping up through the aqueduct-fed sewers into people’s homes to drain them of their life’s essence.
Some say that “Old One-Eye”, an otherwise nameless five-horned, five-jawed, five-eyed desert beast who haunts the Indramael oasis seeking the blood of the cruel and wicked, has been drawn to Thornwall Keep in this time of misery and trial. The monster’s title comes from the fact that of its five eyes, the four to the sides are red while the top-most is blue. It is one of the Seven Stalkers of the Sands.
Some say that dark elementals are climbing up from the mines to seek revenge upon miners for having dug too deep and striking the body of a buried, “Grand Elemental”.
A few note that, this being the tenth anniversary of Lord Salaxis’ death, Lord Salaxis’ ghost is reaching out from beyond to punish Thornwall Keep for having forgotten his role in saving it.
Sohnne is concerned for the safety of his caravan and crew; he says that he is considering leaving Thornwall as soon as he can sell his wares and make a few, strategic purchases to take back with him to the Verras lands outside the Coldwaste Expanse. If things prove to be as dangerous as the rumors say, he says he may leave in a few days.
Just after the final rays of sunlight fade from the sky in the west, a rumble from deep underground shakes the the whole town: an earthquake. Barely a quarter of an hour later, a siege of shadows erupts into the streets. The shadow people emerge from several mines: those owned by “Cathar Dwarven Mining”, “Crystal Ventures Mining”, “Holy Stone Mineral Ventures”, and “Radavix & Tern - Orthoc Mining Company”. The Seekers witness shadow people flitting about Holy Stone Mineral Ventures beyond its fences and quickly get involved, trying to save lives and limit damage. Many of the townspeople are, at first, unaware of the attack’s scope as the shadows blend-in with the darkness. Eventually, the band defeats the closest of the undead creatures and take refuge, with Sohnne and his crew, inside the Oasis Inn. From there, they watch as the attack spreads and shadows swarm, outwards, to lay siege to the base of each of the six suspension bridges that lead up to Thornwall Keep, itself. The defenders of the keep hang lanterns over the railings in an attempt to keep the shadows at bay while priests, druids, and arcanists aide the town’s defenders.
The Seekers hear a bell tolling which locals tell them is an almost never-heard ringing which means they should evacuate up to the floating keep, itself. They decide to do so but need some of their equipment from their own Inn: the Bed and Barn. Arii, cloaked for about ten minutes by a spell making her invisible to the undead, offers to run back to their Inn and fetch their weapons and items so they can evacuate and, while doing so, defend the others who took refuge with them in the Oasis Inn. She manages this but also returns with several more people whom she managed to, safely, get out of the Bed and Barn to follow her to the Oasis.
The group, guarded by Grymaldi flying above, start making their way through the dark streets towards the nearest bridge. Klaus invokes Sombralin (the derros of darkness, shadow, and twilight) to defend them and delivers stirring speeches to keep everyone’s spirits up. They move slowly, but gradually make their way several blocks to their destination. Upon getting close to the nearest bridge, the Seekers see druids calling down daylight upon the area to keep the shadows at bay. The Seekers and their charges manage to get through the blockade and up onto the bridge for protection. Ayne Pais unleashes her most potent spell, chain lightning, to disperse the heaviest cluster of shadows.
The defenses hold all night towards the end of which a shadow being, astride a giant shadow wolf and calling itself “Lecht”, demands that “the violator be released to the shadows within seven days or our next assault will be a wave to drown all of Thornwall in a sea of shadow”.
The siege ends, the shadow people retreat back into the mines, and the sun slowly rises...
----- STOPPED AS DAWN CAME UP AND LECHT GAVE HER ULTIMATUM