Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Kingdom of Shard, Southeastern Province

(This part of Shard is being included within the GM's guidebook as a sort of sample/pre-made area for reference, and is currently being tested out by me in various games.)

Built over the ruins of Old Akenia, Shard is one of the few bastions of civilizations left in the Wistful Dark. The Kingdom is actually a loose confederation of city states, ostensibly ruled by King Arcturus and guided by the Church of the Sacred Chain. Reality is of course, grimmer; the king is a mere figurehead, while the church maintains a draconian peace via an ubiquitous and aggressive knightly order. Most do not complain - people generally do very little travelling, rightfully frightened of the Shadowed Lands between the light of the Star Shards. And as long as dues are paid, the various Overlords and City Councils are left mostly to themselves.

The Southeastern Province of Shard is a rather busy cut of land. All three of the Kingdom's settlements in the area have a heavy mercantile presence, leaving it's primary roads well guarded maintained, and traveled. It makes an optimal place for would be adventurers to begin their travels.

Well, as optimal as the Wistful Dark can be at least.

Some notable locations in the Southeast Province;

  • The Province's main road is known as The Waning Path. It connects all three major settlements, and is rigorously patrolled and maintained by both the Knights of the Sacred Chain and mercenaries funded by various other factions. 
  • Spire City was constructed among the ruins of an ancient tower and the town around it, benefiting from the amenities afforded to the people of the previous era. It has since blossomed into a cosmopolitan locale, with a brilliant Star Shard fitted to the top of the spire that the city is named for.
  • Torm began as a very small settlement that expanded very rapidly. The people there live happily, surrounded by arable land attributed to venerable oak tree that grows in the northernmost part of the city. Local superstition is that a benevolent spirit resides within, though the Church discourages quietly discourages this notion.
  • The Chib village of Homble is a much smaller place than either, but no less important. It lies near the crossroads of The Waning Path, and serves as a resting point for anyone travelling between Torm, Spire or the Shadowed Coast. Home to "Merona's Arcane Bakery", owned by one of the villages only human residents.
  • There are rumors of a Tenebrate Settlement being erected in an area that was once a ranch owned by "Cavalier Cecil", a famous tamer of exotic beasts. While they keep mostly to themselves, there have been escalating incidents with the village of Homble that show no signs of stopping.
  • Behind a waterfall on the Ink River lies The Cavern of Forgotten Songs. True to it's name, strange music in ancient tongues echo from within. The place is rumored to house numerous secrets and treasures, but those who return from the place do so with glassy eyes and a ceaseless hum on their lips.
  • An ageless sage named Allyn lives alone in a small house along the main roads, with naught but a star gem lamp and an extensive library to keep him company. He is no hermit however, and is known to show ample hospitality to friendly travelers,
  • To the north are The Woods of Mask, a forest filled with trees - as odd as it seems, this is something of an oddity in a Shard, whose mostly dark landscape is dotted with enormous fungal growths rather than conventional plants. It is rumored that a radiant lake lies in the center of these grand woods, protected by a Dryad and her fearsome retainers.
  • To the south is Fort Agrah, named for a traitorous lord who refused aid to outsiders during the second cataclysm. It is said his heart grew so cold that it froze his sanctum as well as transforming him and his knights into terrible, deathless wretches. Recent travelers have been attacked in the area surrounding the fort, many dragged away by voiceless knights in frostbitten armor.
  • In the east lies a Crumbling Shrine, where a half summoned Asura lies in tremendous pain, the scent of it's blood drawing terrible Night Beasts towards it. It is rumored that those who brave the shrine and find the Asura can hear the answer to any question, as long as they are willing to provide the creature with a bit of flesh and blood to help continue the construction of it's material body.
  • An old Orihalcum Mine is within a days walking distance from Spire; while it has been abandoned by craftsman, criminals often used the place as a meeting and storage spot. Its no longer theirs without contest, however. A persistent group of goblins managed to drill their way into the lowest parts of the mine, and have entered a protracted turf war with the fugitives who had been residing there.

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