|Overview: Ptolus lies between the Spire and the sea. The highest portion of the city, the Nobles' Quarter, is built on the base of the Spire. From there, the level of the city drops down a sharp cliff to Oldtown, and then down again into Midtown. The final cliffs at the edge of Ptolus drop into the bay, with the only area of dry land at the bottom of those cliffs occupied by the city's docks. Wellworn paths connect the various elevations and help make Ptolus very defensible (although the city has never been attacked).
The King's River flows through the city, spilling into an eroded chasm in the northwest corner and flowing down to the Bay of Ptolus near the docks. The bottom of the chasm, called the King's River Gorge, is eighty feet below the level of the ground on the north side, but more than two hundred feet below on the south side. The south side still holds the old city walls and fortifications. A bridge built atop two massive pillars, themselves erected atop natural rock columns, stretches across the King's River Gorge at a steep angle, leading into the area of the city known as Oldtown. Another bridge stretches across the chasm to join Oldtown with the Rivergate District. Although Oldtown is higher, the difference in elevation between these two districts is not steep, so the slope of this bridge seems far less noticeable than that of the other.
|Docks, The: Far below the level of the city's streets, the Docks rest at the bottom of the city's eastern cliffs on a narrow strip of land. The wooden buildings here sit slightly askew from one another, because the entire small district is built upon slowly sinking sand. Even the streets are sand. A dozen or more ships moor in the deep waters here at any given
time. This is a particularly rough area of the city, thanks to the influx of sailors and its isolation from the other districts. A single winding road provides access up a steep incline to the city proper.
The Docks area is full of warehouses, shipyards, hostels, and taverns, all catering to sailors and merchants. Isolated from the rest of the city by the cliffs, sometimes it seems as though the Docks area has had to become its own little community. Many Ptolus residents live their whole lives without going there—but, of course, they probably haven't been to the Nobles' Quarter, either.
|Guildsman District: Ptolus teems with guilds. Every type of artisan, smith, or other professional belongs to a guild of similarly trained and employed individuals. These guilds enjoy a strong voice in the City Council. This district in the south end of the city holds many tanneries, smithies, foundries, textile houses, grain mills, paper mills, brickmakers, bookmakers, woodworkers, and other production facilities, as well as warehouses, granaries, coalhouses, stockyards,
and similar storage sites.
Not surprisingly, this district has a distinct odor.
Unless one works here, a local rarely finds a reason to visit, although this district sports a few taverns and other businesses catering to the working class. The Guildsman District's rough reputation prevents most people from frequenting the area at night. Those who live there often join a guild for protection.
Just a few of the guilds in this district include: Drapers' Guild, Goldsmiths' Guild, Herbalists' Guild, Ironworkers' Guild, Masons' Guild, Silversmiths' Guild, Tanners' Guild, Weaponsmiths' Guild, and Woodworkers' Guild.
The Sages' Guild, Shipwrights' Guild, a warriors' guild (called the Order of Iron Might), and a few others are headquartered elsewhere in the city.
|Midtown: As the central area of the city, Midtown is both a commercial and a residential hub. It is also where one finds many local entertainment offerings, in the form of pubs and taverns as well as theaters, dance halls, gambling dens, and more. Visitors looking for a place to stay usually find themselves directed here, as most of the temporary lodgings in the city are found in Midtown.
Midtown is home to both Tavern Row and Delver's Square, where many employers seeking to hire adventuring parties can post their announcements. It also has a few shops and plenty of residential areas, such as Emerald Hill, where most elves choose to live, and Narred, a
Besides the Delver's Square shops that adventurers frequent (Rastor's Weapons, the Bull and
Bear armory, Ebbert's Outfitters, and Myraeth's Oddities), those in the know also appreciate
Saches clothiers on Yeoman Street and, of course, the Row Bathhouse. Potions and Elixirs offers a large stock of potions for sale.
The most popular adventurer hangout is the Ghostly Minstrel tavern and inn in Delver's Square. Many folks seem leery of both the Onyx Spider (on Tavern Row) and the Black Swan (which is mainly for dwarves). Danbury's, also in Delver's Square, caters to spellcasters.
|Necropolis: A city several centuries old tends to have a large graveyard, and Ptolus is no exception. The vast Necropolis in the city's northeastern corner sits on a few rolling hills, now completely covered with mausoleums, crypts, and graves. The entire Necropolis is surrounded by a wall, with guards posted at each of its four gates. These guards' primary duty is to warn people not to stay in the Necropolis after nightfall and to watch for grave obbers. Most people know that undead roam the Necropolis, but various churches and holy orders, such as the Keepers of the Veil, do their best to contain the menace.|
|Nobles' Quarter: Ptolus has no shortage of wealth or wealthy people. Technically outside the city's walls, the Nobles' Quarter, with its row upon row of manors and estates, climbs the city's western cliffs abutting the Spire itself. Travelers can enter the area only via a single avenue up from Oldtown that runs through the fortress of Dalenguard before reaching the Nobles' Quarter. The heights where this district now sits were easily defensible in the city's younger days; originally, all Ptolus residents could gather here in times of emergency, secure behind Dalenguard's stout gates. However, as time passed and the city grew, members of the elite class claimed these enviable heights for their residences, leaving the less wealthy to expand into the lower quarters.
The largest estates in this section of town belong to the ten noble families that have held power in the area—to one degree or another—for centuries. In addition to the homes of the wealthy and the services that cater to them, this district houses the Holy Palace, where the Prince of the Church lives; lately he is joined by his father, the Emperor of the Church, visiting from his eastern capital. The Nobles' Quarter holds the Crown Theater opera house, the Imperial Academy of Music, fabulous eating establishments, a floating apartment building, and other luxuries and sites of interest.
|North Market: When one enters the city from the north, one is greeted with the sights and smells of a busy marketplace. Well-worn cobblestone streets are packed with vendors occupying wooden booths, pushing carts, or simply hawking wares they tote in massive baskets on their backs. Fresh foods of all kinds—fish and shellfish from the sea, fruit from the orchards to the north, and breads and pastries from the city being favorites—are available in any quantity. Other goods are for sale in small shops, tents, or from the backs of wagons. The City Watch patrols this busy area to keep thieves and pickpockets from running rampant. Rumor has it that the guards employ sorcerers to patrol the area invisibly, using spells to keep an eye out not only for traditional thieves, but for magically aided ones as well. They watch for invisible robbers, overt use of charm or compulsion magic, and similar tricks.
If you're looking for tasty baked goods, try Tavoh's Bakery; a good clothier, try Endle's Finery; for a fair weapon shop, go to Mitoren's Blades, although Rastor's Weapons in Delver's Square (in Midtown) is probably better for traditional arms. A small firearms emporium called the Smoke Shop opened recently as well.
|Oldtown: Ptolus was founded three centuries ago as a small community surrounding a fortress called Dalenguard. The fortress' original purpose was to keep the area clear of evil creatures drawn by the power of Jabel Shammar, the citadel at the top of the Spire. It also sought to watch over Goth Gulgamel, the fortress halfway up the Spire built by Ghul, the Half God. Dalenguard was constructed more than seven hundred years ago, just after the defeat of Ghul, to serve as a symbol of the union of elves, dwarves, and humans in that war.
Over time, the community grew into an important port, and the need for Dalenguard as a wilderness bastion waned. Today the old fortress is still used by the Imperial-appointed ruler of the city, the Commissar, and the area surrounding it on the city's near west side is known as Oldtown. It sits atop a ridge higher than most of the rest of Ptolus, but still lower than the Nobles' Quarter.
The stone and marble buildings of Oldtown reflect a grander, earlier age. Graceful columns, majestic entrances, tall stone towers, and buildings of three or even four stories are common sights here. Yet all bear the signs of age and wear. Today many of these buildings house the bureaucracy the Empire forces upon the city. Still others are museums or homes for the wealthy (those not quite wealthy enough to live in the Nobles' Quarter). There are wonderful theaters, auditoriums, and even a grand Arena in this large district of the city. The Arena provides a spot for tournaments, fairs, and sporting games of all sorts. Nearby, the Inverted Pyramid mages' guild sponsors a magical ball sport simply called "the Mage Game," held in an indoor coliseum in Oldtown.
This is where citizens go to get licenses, like those needed to carry a firearm. The City Courts are located here, and as are the City Council's meeting chambers. Both the Delver's Guild Library and Maproom (but not the guild's main office) and the City Library are here. Oldtown has a fair number of parks, monuments, and other touches of class and beauty.
|Rivergate: Strictly a residential area, the Rivergate District is as close to a "middle class" neighborhood as Ptolus gets. It is located on a rise of land, surrounded by cliffs on all sides except the northeast, where a steep slope mostly free of buildings and covered in trees rolls down to the North Market and the main North Gate. Its residential cul-de-sacs—called "burrows" by those who live here—each boasts its own unique architectural identity.|
|South Market: To locals, the North Market is simply "the Market," while this area is the "South Market." Unlike its counterpart, the South Market is not an open-air marketplace. It has fewer vendors dealing out of carts and more established shops and places of business. Goods usually cost more in the South Market, but a buyer is far more likely to find trustworthy and reliable salespeople here. This is also where one finds the city's commodities markets and the headquarters of large merchant organizations, such as the Rogue Moon Trading Company. As in the North Market, many of those who work here also live here; the district has substantial residential sections.
The South Market is newer than the North Market and has more artisans and industry than its counterpart. You're more likely to get something made to order in the South Market, as the store selling leather goods, for example, is probably also a leatherworker's shop (such as Donnel's, a friendly dealer in leather goods). Nonstandard races or those with special physical needs when it comes to clothing should check out Maran's Odd Sizes. Navaen's Bowcraft is a fine place to buy bows or arrows, and those looking for a real treat should stop by Ramoro's Bakery.
|Temple District: Although the worship of Lothian, the official Imperial deity, is the dominant religion of the city, Ptolus' cosmopolitan residents revere hundreds of other gods as well.
Temples, churches, shrines, and small monasteries fill this district in the north central part of town, with the Street of a Million Gods (a bit of an exaggeration) running through it all. Even the Blessed Bridge across the King's River here has small shrines built upon and into it.
The district stretches east and west from the Street of a Million Gods. Notable sights include St. Valien's Cathedral for worshippers of Lothian and the Priory of Introspection, where the Sisterhood of Silence is based. Although clerics are the most common representatives of the many gods, a number of temples support monks and paladins as well. The Temple District has a single bar, Taggert's, which is also a temple to Ollom, god of the keg.
|Undercity Market, The: Although not actually a district of Ptolus, the Undercity Market, accessed by a wide staircase in the middle of Delver's Square, is the place to go for most adventuring gear (although Ebbert's Outfitters in Delver's Square is a handy one-stop shop with good prices). Looking for potions? Try Urnst, Alchemist. For scrolls, try the gnome wizard Neridoc Bittersong, who runs a booth in the market under the sign "Arcane Scribe."
Also located here is the Delver's Guild, an association that provides assistance in the form of maps, reference material, and equipment to explorers of the ancient dwarven city, Dwarvenhearth, and other areas below the streets of Ptolus.
Nearby are entrances into the sewers as well as tunnels leading into "the Dungeon," as adventurers call it. The Chamber of Longing is a nearby landmark that features a strange statue of a huge hand and serves as an occasional meeting place for adventurers, because everyone knows where it is. One can access the profoundly mysterious and magical Mirror Maze from the market as well.
The presence of the Delver's Guild makes the Undercity Market a center of employment relating to Dungeon exploration. Those looking to hire adventurers frequently post bills in the guild's meeting hall (much like the post in Delver's Square). A number of market establishments hire out scouts, guides, porters, and guards, as well as skilled labor to pick locks, cast spells, and perform other necessary services.
As the city grows, more people have begun to live in and around the Undercity Market and throughout the underground levels. This is particularly true of races not always welcome elsewhere—minotaurs, lizardfolk, orcs, and so on.
|Warrens, The: The Warrens in the eastern part of town is a terrible slum sick with poverty and crime. Rumors say that the City Watch won't go down into the Warrens. The streets here have no names, and most of the buildings aren't marked—the place is not friendly to outsiders. Some visitors may have experienced a little theft or crime in the city, but it's nothing compared to what goes on in this district. Some place the headquarters of the Vai within the Warrens. Others whisper of a crime lord named Jirraith and his gang of young thieves called the Pale Dogs who really run the place.|
|Overview: In Ptolus, there is one religion and there are many. While the Church of Lothian remains the official religion of the Empire, tied closely to every aspect of Imperial government, many other far smaller and less popular religions exist as well. These faiths worship gods like Ahaar, Lord of the Air, a minor elemental sky god; the Fifty-Three Gods of Chance, deities of chaos and randomness; Gaen, Goddess of Light, a popular deity; and Teun, Mother of All Machines, goddess of technology.|
|Ahaar, Lord of the Air: An elemental sky god of some popularity.|
|Aldinach, Goddess of the Moons: Aldinach provides insight into the future on full-moon nights. Her worship is all but forgotten today.|
|Ardaen, Dead God of Light: Once a powerful elven god of light, Ardaen is dead, tricked and slain by evil gods (including Gorgoth-Lol).|
|Asche, God of Cities: A major god of civilization and sophisticated living.|
|Blurrah, Goddess of Comfort in Sadness: A very minor goddess turned to occasionally but rarely attracting lifetime followers.|
|Castain: Old Prustan deity of life, supplanted by Lothian. No longer worshipped.|
|Celestan, Lord of the Silver Moon: Celestan is the main elven deity. Ithildin, ithilnaur, and ithilirid (moonsilver) are said to all be his gifts to his people.|
|Charlathan, God(dess) of Retribution and Reward: This capricious god has few worshippers today. Offering alternatively banes and boons, the deity has both male and female aspects at different times.|
|Danace, Master of the Thousand Pains: A god of torture, sadism, and masochism.|
|Demon Gods, The: This is a catch-all for all the many powerful demons (which may or may not be true gods) worshipped in small numbers throughout the lands. Examples are Demogorgon, Orcus, and countless others.|
|Destor: A god of cruel fate who sends the ill fortune that should befall his worshippers onto others. Destor's religion was outlawed under the Empire.|
|Engelan, God of the Present: Unconcerned with the past or the future, this religion is based on the immediate present and in living in the moment. Many halflings worship Engelan.|
|Father Claw, the Serpentine Lord: Worshippers of the draconic Father Claw, one of the oldest gods, are very rare in Ptolus.|
|Frega: This very minor dwarf goddess is revered only by Stonelost dwarves. She watches over all animals, but in particular goats and boars.|
|Gaen, Goddess of Light: A popular and powerful religion. The Temple of Gaen is one of the largest and most impressive temples on a street of large and impressive temples. Gaen's clerics are proactive and struggle against evil at every turn. Gaen is the sister of Mirresh.|
|Hannan, Lord of the Sun: The worshippers of Hannan have recently rejected Gaen and her faith as not the true path to see the sun's light. There is a strange rivalry between these two faiths now, with the religion of Hannan much less prominent than that of Gaen.|
|Harredda, Mistress of Ravens: Brought originally from the northern reaches of Nall, this goddess has a fair number of worshippers in Ptolus.|
|Heiran and Nareis, the Sisters of Death: These twin death goddesses are feared, but revered for what they might do to one in the afterlife if not appeased.|
|Herkan, Goddess of the Stones: A rare chaotic dwarf goddess, Herkan represents the healing energies of the earth.|
|Inurath, Mistress of War: The most popular of many war deities, Inurath was originally a goddess of the people of Nall.|
|Iron God, The: A mysterious deity of the old Prustan humans and Grailwarden dwarves. No image of this god is ever seen. He is the patron of all things iron.|
|Jode, Guardian of Song: Goddess of music and creativity, her worship in Ptolus centers around the Knights of the Chord and the Jodan Templehall in Oldtown.|
|Juranis, God of the Open Sea: God of the sea fearfully worshipped by sailors and sea creatures.|
|Kharos, God of Magic: An old Prustan deity, Kharos is lord of wizardly magic.|
|Kran, Goddess of Faults: Another old Prustan deity, Kran has a very small following.|
|Lady, The: This deity is one of luck and to some degree, fate. Her shrines are numerous, although she has few worshippers devoted strictly to her. She is a goddess of long shots and last chances.|
|Locharit, the Goddess of the Written Word: Knowledge, Law, Magic. A religion of wizards and scholars favored by gnomes.|
|Lothian: Lothian was a mortal who lived about fifteen hundred years ago. He ascended to godhood based on his own good works and strength of spirit. Lothian today is the lawful good god of justice and purity. His followers usually take one aspect or the other (justice or purity), focusing on either Lothian's lawful or his good qualities. In his lawful aspect, Lothian is the Lawgiver. In his good aspect, he is called the Daykeeper. In either case, he remains a staunch foe of cruelty and destruction and harbors a particular hatred of undead. He promotes peace, harmony, and safety. His symbol is an ankh crucifix.
The Church of Lothian is the most powerful religion in the Empire, and thus in Ptolus. So closely tied are the Empire and the Church of Lothian that the head of the religion's hierarchy is known as the Emperor of the Church. Alongside the traditional secular Emperor of Tarsis, he rules over all Imperial lands and citizens. The Emperor of the Church normally lives in the far-off capital city of Tarsis but of late has been in Ptolus staying with his son, the Prince of the Church.
When it initially spread its influence across the growing Empire, the Church was far less tolerant of divergent beliefs and even of arcane magic than it is today. The Church of Lothian released the Edict of Deviltry centuries ago, proclaiming all arcane spellcasting to be an evil act. (The more enlightened modern Church rescinded the Edict.) In Ptolus, many different chapels throughout the city are devoted to Lothian. The Church maintains its headquarters in St. Valien's Cathedral in the Temple District.
A knighthood called the Order of the Dawn serves the Church of Lothian as elite defenders of the faith. While low-ranking members are warriors and fighters, the higher ranks include paladins and a few martial clerics.
In general, the Church of Lothian seeks to convert the heathen and protect and nurture the faithful. Far more than typical organized religions, the Church of Lothian remains involved in day-to-day government administration and the making (and sometimes enforcing) of laws. Lothian's priests serve as judges and officials in the government of the Empire.
Lothian's clerics normally wear white and blue, although on high holy days they wear golden garments. Lothian's favored weapon is the longsword.
|Maleskari, God of Shades: An evil god of undead spirits and ghosts.|
|Melann, Goddess of Farming: A very popular goddess. Melann's temple is frequented more by visitors than locals.|
|Mirresh, Goddess of Laughter: A minor goddess, Mirresh is popular among entertainers and children. Mirresh is the sister of Gaen.|
|Mocharum, God of Dwarves: This is the main dwarven deity, popular in particular among Grailwarden dwarves. Brother of Morachon.|
|Morachon, God of the Forge: A religion centered around a craftsman deity revered mostly by dwarves. He is the brother of the god Mocharum.|
|Myliesha, Mistress of the Wind's Path: An elven elemental deity popular particularly with displaced elves living among humans.|
|Navashtrom, God of Strength and Harmony: A popular religion in Ptolus. The followers of Navashtrom are often warriors and adventurers.|
|Ni-Gorth: Once a priest of Father Claw, Ni-Gorth betrayed the dragon and imprisoned him. Eventually, he ascended to godhood. First of the New Gods, he is no longer worshipped.|
|Niveral, God of Secrets: Also known as the Master of the Five Lost Lores (one of which is the Lore of the First Fire), Niveral is a minor god worshipped only by those who seek forgotten secrets and knowledge no longer known.|
|Old Man, The: A strange religion based around a brooding figure known only as "the Old Man" who watches over yet disdains virtually everything.|
|Ollom, God of the Keg: A minor god of alcohol and brewing popular among a handful of gnomes and humans.|
|Phoeboul, God of Dreams: An elvish god, Phoeboul is the patron of Dreta Phantas, the Dreaming City, which is now lost.|
|Raddashin's Eye: Raddashin was a god of rain, slain by evil beings long ago. The god's eye survived and still carries out his will. Many people in Ptolus revere Raddashin's Eye.|
|Rajek the Wanderer: Originally worshipped in the far south, Rajek is a god favored by adventurers and those down on their luck. The aram also like Rajek.|
|Ravvan the Beast God: A minor god and demon prince who rules over an extradimensional hell of savagery and beasts.|
|Sylvanae, the Woodland Shaper: God of the fae, the elves, and the woods, this androgynous deity is rarely revered in Ptolus except by gnomes.|
|Taeshandra, Elvish God of Travel: Watches over travelers, particularly those who pay homage at her roadside shrines, usually found only in the woods. Also worshipped by halflings.|
|Tardeshou, Goddess of Truth: Sister of Navashtrom, this deity is overshadowed in Ptolus by the worship of her better-known brother.|
|Teun, Mother of All Machines: Another old Prustan deity, Teun is the goddess of machines and technology. She is revered by Grailwarden dwarves as well as humans.|
|Tevra, the Clockwork Goddess: Still another Prustan deity, Tevra is the daughter of Teun. She is thought to sleep now, but will awaken one day to help restore order to the world.|
|Thamus: God of protection and defense.|
|The Fifty-Three Gods of Chance: A religion of chaos and randomness, but not directly tied to the chaos cults.|
|Torskal: This aram god of just vengeance has no temple in Ptolus.|
|Twenty-Four Gods of the Hours: These two dozen minor gods each represents one hour of the day, but they are all quite different in nature, reflecting how most people view the different times of day.|
|Unnah, Mistress of the Blades: A minor goddess of swordfighting and skill. Her extremely devout followers are called the Hussar.|
|Unnom, Lord of Caverns: This dwarven god is also revered by other subterranean dwellers.|
|Watcher of the Skies: A religion based around a deity that "knows all and sees all," including the future. The Watcher of the Skies is an impassive observer most of the time and may be related somehow to the Old Man. A resurgence in this faith has occurred in the last year.|
|Ynchabolos, God of Numbers: A god of logic, numbers, and order. His religion is small but wealthy and supported by influential people in the city.|
|Yurabbos, Goddess of Supreme Devotion: A very minor dwarf deity of sacrifice and unswerving devotion to a cause.|
|Amric Theudeger: Amric Theudeger, second son of Baldsin Theudeger of the Lost Overclan of Haurdir, stared at the legendary towering spire of Ptolus outside of the North Market gate. He had seen the spire grow as he approached the city for many days. A shiver of anticipation (or fear?) ran up Amric's spine as he considered that the answers that his clan sought might be in that spire, for Baldsin bade him to "seek our link to the Lost Overclan in Ptolus - Dwarvenhearth must hold the answer."
Over the next few weeks, Amric felt out the city whilst performing a few odd jobs (mostly as a bodyguard). After finishing up work one night, he came across a fight in an alley. Two goons were beating up on a halfling. Amric rushed in and just the long glint of the moon reflecting off his falchion was enough to scare them off. The halfling's name is Egan, and he had run afoul of a small gang called the One-Eyed Jacks. It was clear that Egan would be a good companion on Amric's eventually journey to explore Dwarvenhearth, so he befriended the little one.
Amric learned from Egan that the Ghostly Minstrel was a good place to met like-minded adventures and brag about your own deeds. It was here that Amric rounded out his group.
|Gowyr Maddockson: Gowyr Maddockson just loves the city. You can have deep woods with all their bugs, the open spaces with no place to eat, and towering mountains where you freeze to death. But a happening town with good companions and great ale, that is for Gowyr, cleric of Asche - God of Civilization and sophisticated living. Gowyr knows the best places to eat, where you will not get ripped off, and where some of the friendlier ladies like to hang out. Although he loves the city, he does have a sense of wonder and curiosity. You can get him out of the tavern in order to "bring civilization to the world!" But the city will always call him back home.
Enjoying a drink with Gowyr was a sorcerer by the name of Zenos. He himself is a traveller. He hints at a goal or mission, will not speak of it further. He is a fun man to be around as he will occasionally look to pull a prank with his magic. He also has elven blood running through him, as can be seen by a slight point to his ears and the more almond shape of his eyes.
|Jack Dacarr: A common thief in Ptolus. He has an on-again/off-again relationship with Lisette. The young boy Teon worships Jack, and hopes to grow up to be just like him.|
|Abesh Runihan: Defeated the lich Kagrisos as he rose to cast a spell that would spread a plague throughout the city. Runihan died in the process. A statue of him stands in Delver's Square (also known as Runihan Square).|
|Danar: See Eslathagos.|
|Delian Von Tessel: The first Emperor of Tarsis.|
|Eslathagos Malkith: Creator of the Banewarrens and Jabel Shammar, the citadel atop the Spire. Also known as the Dread One.|
|Ghul: Creator of Goth Gulgamel, the fortress halfway up the Spire. Also known as the Half God and the Skull-King. Claimed to be the offspring of Eslathagos Malkith.|
|Ghulwar, The: The Ghulwar, which began more than a thousand years ago and lasted for three centuries, both shaped and scarred the present-day world. It was the unification of the races to oppose Ghul under the command of the Prustan armies that paved the way for the Empire of Tarsis to form and spread. Schoolchildren are all taught the history of this time, even though it was so long ago, because these events are considered vital to today's society. Even the uneducated know that the world came very close to falling into eternal darkness. Those who took part in defeating Ghul are still discussed in reverent tones.|
|Parnaith: Wife of Danar and creator (along with the Wizard-Priests of Ni-Gorth) of the Seven Jewels of Parnaith: small demiplanes associated with the Spire and Ptolus.|
|Tacheron Kint: Famous delver and explorer.|
|Yrkyth Vladaam: Mad wizard who attempted to destroy the world by gaining access to powerful magic below the city.|
|Authorities, The: To police the streets, the Commissar of the city commands a force of more than eight hundred troops and City Watch guards, including a few dozen elite individuals (captains, mages, clerics, etc.). While the constables in many of the Empire's cities are considered glorified street-sweepers with little competence or desire to actually enforce the law, this is not true of the experienced and well equipped guards of Ptolus, particularly those known as the Commissar's Men.
Nevertheless, this well-trained and well-paid force has its hands full maintaining order in the city. Helping to enforce the law is a special order of monks called the Sisterhood of Silence. These nonspeaking female monks patrol the streets and apprehend criminals, even though they are not—strictly speaking—sanctioned to do so officially. A male eunuch always accompanies a small unit of the Sisters of Silence to speak on their behalf.
However, neither the city guard nor the Sisterhood of Silence is willing to go down into the Dungeon and fight monsters. Nor are they likely to help against well-known and influential noble families such as House Vladaam or House Sadar, or powerful groups like the Church of Lothian or the Shuul. Of course, those groups would never break any laws, so there's surely nothing to worry about. . . .
|Dwarvenhearth: An abandoned underground dwarven settlement underneath Ptolus.|
|Empire of Tarsis: "The Empire teeters on the brink of disintegration. Barbarians from the distant east have defeated Tarsisan armies and ransacked Tarsis itself. Three different people claim the Lion-Guarded Throne, including the current Emperor of the Church, Rehoboth Ylestos.
The secular Empress Addares XXXIV is the cousin of the previous Empress Addares, who died with no children or siblings. No one currently holds the title Prince or Princess of Tarsis, therefore there is no heir apparent. Segaci Fellisti, a powerful and aged councilor who has survived six Emperors, now claims that only he is fit to rule in these trying times. Despite his non-Prustan heritage, his followers believe he has more right to rule than the Empress, whose blood ties to the original Von Tessels are convoluted at best. Addares now holds court in Dohrinthas, the city she has proclaimed as the new capital, while Segaci apparently has returned to Tarsis following its sacking. Meanwhile, the Emperor of the Church, now residing in Ptolus, claims to be the only true ruler with the title Emperor.
But outside of Tarsis, some see the fall of the Empire—if it has indeed fallen—as a good thing. The hereditary monarchies, long disenfranchised, now return to power as Imperial governors lose their influence. Like a disease overcome, the Empire is fading and life is returning to its state of a thousand years ago—but not without many indelible scars left behind."
|Kem: Many thousands of years ago, it was inhabited by humans and a vile, diabolically evil race of nonhuman humanoids called the Cthorn.
The people of Kem, both human and Cthorn, were the greatest wizards of their day, but due to their natures fought terrible wars amongst themselves. These wars, called the Wars of Fire, tore Kem apart physically and even psychically.
The Cthorn themselves are all wiped out today, the last few slain, rumor has it, by Ghul himself. (Although he claimed to be the son of the Dread One, Ghul's first historical appearances occur in Kem.)
|Poor Pen, The: The shop of the scribe Pate, in Oldtown. He specializes in making copies of Imperial land deeds.|
|Ptolus: Ptolus is a major city of about seventy-five thousand people. It is located in the land of Palastan near a large bay on the southern end of the Whitewind Sea. The place was established to serve as the port for an important fortress built at the time of the Empire's foundation, a citadel called Dalenguard. More significantly, however, it lies in the shadow of an impossibly tall (almost three thousand feet) and thin pinnacle of rock known simply as the Spire. The Spire and its surroundings seethe with mysterious legends and rumors. These tales tell of ancient battles waged and cities erected on the site, of demons and dark lords, of forgotten kings and mighty wizards. Many such stories might be at least somewhat true, for recent developments have revealed vast complexes beneath the city.
Of late, Ptolus has become a city of adventurers. Treasure-seekers flock there to explore and plunder the labyrinthine structures beneath the streets, which they call the "Dungeon." If the stories are correct, these catacombs include:
Ptolus lies in a cool, rainy coastal region with harsh winters. It serves as an important port on the Bay of Ptolus off the Whitewind Sea and belongs to the Empire of Tarsis, although a growing faction in the city feels that Ptolus should declare itself independent.
|Silver Fox: An upscale house of prostitution, it is run by Madame Jordana.|
|Redhurst Magical Academy: A wizard school located in Oldtown.|
|Overview: Ptolus has ten noble families, all of whom enjoy special status by ancestral right. Although the Empire does not officially recognize their titles, Ptolus is far enough removed from the heart of Empire that local traditions and beliefs still grant the noble houses hereditary seats on the city's ruling council. Plus, most of them are quite wealthy, and with affluence comes influence. The noble houses were once the seats of real power in the area, serving a dynasty of kings that ruled the entire region of Palastan before the Empire took over. (That's where the King's River gains its name.)|
|Abanar: A mercantile house, Abanar is very wealthy but not well regarded. Dered Abanar is the very old head of the house. There is much controversy now among his many children as to who will take control when the elder Abanar is gone.|
|Dallimothan: Often called "House Dragon," the members of this house dress in dragonscale armor, use dragon regalia, and are said to even truck with dragonkind. House Dallimothan, led by Kirstol Dallimothan, remains a powerful and wealthy force in the city.|
|Erthuo: Scholars and gentlefolk, House Erthuo normally avoids confrontation and rarely gets involved in squabbles between other houses. A family of elves and half-elves belong to this house, headed by Peliope Erthuo, a half-elf.|
|Kath: A wealthy house, Kath is known for its talented, glamorous, and attractive family. Devina Kath is the head of the house, which patronizes the arts.|
|Khatru: Famous for its military leadership and martial prowess, House Khatru is made up of arrogant boors and self-righteous warriors. Dorant Khatru is the current master of the house.|
|Nagel: This old, charitable, and altruistic house has recently fallen on hard times. Fransin Nagel is mistress of this rather minor house. She and her family are the enemies of House Sadar.|
|Rau: Foes of House Khatru, the Rau have a reputation as rogues, pirates, and scalawags. The house has a fair number of spellcasters as well. The head of the house is Verrana Rau.|
|Sadar: Known for its long line of mages, this house—which some call the House of Shadows—is quite powerful. Its leader, Lord Renn Sadar, has a strong association with the Inverted Pyramid arcanists’ guild and shadow magic. They are enemies of House Nagel.|
|Shever: Known for its skill with machines, House Shever made a great deal of gold long ago, but until recently was fading in influence. Now with strong ties to the Shuul organization of technophiles, the house is on the rise again. Thollos Shever is the head of the house.|
|Vladaam: An evil house, and very ancient, House Vladaam seems to have lost much of its power and influence in recent times. Iristul Vladaam is the current master of the house, although he has not actually been seen in the city for years. Most people whisper that demonic blood runs through the family’s veins.|
|Balacazar Crime Family: Probably the most powerful crime family in the city, the Balacazars are certainly the oldest. Menon Balacazar is the aging head of the organization, with his son, Malkeen, serving as his second in command. Other siblings include at least two daughters. Arkhall Vaugn, an infamous wizard, works with the family.
The family funds a number of criminal endeavors, gaining profit from theft, extortion, smuggling, illegal gambling, assassination, and trade in slaves, drugs, and evil magic items.
|Brotherhood of Redemption: An order of monks who believe that no evil is irredeemable, the Brotherhood of Redemption seeks to give any evil creature a chance to repent. Its members do not believe in "inherent evil." Specializing in rehabilitation, they operate in the Dungeon out of the Fortress of the Redeemed but maintain a surface headquarters in the Guildsman District. They make it known that they willingly accept any prisoners who are not of the major races—in fact, they’ll pay a small bounty for evil creatures with a modicum of intelligence.|
|Conciliators, The: The Church of Lothian runs an organization called the Conciliators, which consists of inquisitors dedicated to converting infidels, destroying a power called chaositech (which resembles both magic and technology), and stamping out evil. The group is headquartered in the Temple District.|
|Delver's Guild: For the last five years, the Delver's Guild has grown in influence, becoming both popular to join and wealthy. The Delver's Guild offers its members information about job opportunities and events pertaining to the exploration of regions below Ptolus. The guild also maintains the city's most extensive collection of maps of the underground realm and an impressive library for research.
Members receive passwords that allow them to access secret chambers within the underground regions. These secret chambers, called waystations, are stocked with food and simple supplies. High-ranking members gain retrieval insurance, which guarantees that, if they should die while exploring, guild members will retrieve their bodies and have them raised if possible (retrieval and raising paid for out of a special guild account funded by the insured).
The guild's membership hovers around eight hundred. In addition, there are said to exist at least four hundred delvers not affiliated with the guild. At any given time, about one-fifth of this total (about two hundred fifty people) is exploring the Dungeon.
It is estimated that for every ten delvers who go down each week, one does not come back. About one hundred new adventurers come to Ptolus and some twenty-five are raised from the dead every week. Since the Delver's Guild began keeping records three years ago, approximately eight thousand adventures died permanently while exploring the Dungeon. Another two hundred thirty have permanently retired, either in the city or elsewhere.
|Dreaming Apothecary: The Dreaming Apothecary may be more legend than fact. Those in the know claim that a secretive group of spellcasters crafts magic items for people, making transactions with them magically in their dreams. Darker rumors accuse these powerful mages of keeping others in the city from making magic items for profit by coercion, backed up by their formidable magical might. Potential customers can reach the group at Danbury's in Delver's Square.
|Fallen, The: The Fallen are fiends also known as the "young demons," though few people care to dwell long on the question of who the "old" demons might be. The Fallen live in the Dark Reliquary of the Necropolis with their allies, the Forsaken, and follow the leadership of two demons whose names are only whispered: Raguel and Lilith.
Most people wish the Fallen were not in Ptolus but, for demons who dwell within the city's walls, they actually cause surprisingly little trouble. Few speak of them, but when they do, they often claim these demons are either waiting for something or quietly looking for something.
|Fate Weavers: The Fate Weavers are a small group of prophets and seers who claim the ability to tell people's fortunes. Locals consider the group a front for prostitution.|
|Forsaken, The: Those who value death and undeath more than life are called the Forsaken. Necrophiles, necrophages, and necrophiliacs, these disgusting people worship dark gods and consort openly with undead and the Fallen. They base their activities in the Necropolis.
The Forsaken are the sworn foes of the valiant Keepers of the Veil. A smaller subgroup within their ranks called the Licheloved carry out the will of dark death gods in ways that—it's said—even the other Forsaken find difficult to stomach. Another subgroup, the Torrens, are specifically anti-Lothianite.
Some of the Forsaken are living people who consort with the undead, while others are actually undead themselves. They particularly revere ancient undead called the Wintersouled, who reportedly built the Dark Reliquary. If any of the Wintersouled still exist, no one in the city knows about it.
|Healers of the Sacred Heat: Healers, physickers, and surgeons who use a magical process involving heat to heal wounds, the Healers of the Sacred Heat base themselves in the Temple District and offer inexpensive healing. It's said to be painful, however. Theirs is not a place known to appeal to adventurers (who look for instantaneous and painless healing and have the gold to pay for it), but rather to locals for treating various chronic ailments.|
|Inverted Pyramid: The Inverted Pyramid is a mysterious and ancient guild of arcanists. Their membership roll remains shrouded in mystery, but it most likely includes the most powerful mages in Ptolus—and probably the world. For years they have wielded considerable influence in the city. Their headquarters is said to lie somewhere hidden from normal sight by powerful spells.
In days past, the Inverted Pyramid was a great foe of the Church of Lothian. When the Edict of Deviltry was issued centuries ago proclaiming all arcane spellcasting to be an evil act, a number of mages gathered to form a secret society dedicated to preserving themselves and their lore. Within the Inverted Pyramid, the members of this guild meet, store their valuable books and supplies, and craft magic items and other creations. The Inverted Pyramid concerns itself with preserving magical lore and all things arcane from those it believes would eradicate such knowledge.
|Keepers of the Veil: The Keepers of the Veil is an order of holy knights dedicated to the destruction of undead, specifically free-willed spirits that should have remained on their own side of the great veil of death. Occasionally they ally with a smaller group called the Knights of the Pale.
The Keepers of the Veil possess a fortress, the Siege Tower, on the edge of the Necropolis. They strive to eradicate the curse of the undead from the world forever. Their co-leaders are Sir Beck Von Tibbitz and a Lothianite priestess named Phadian Gess.
|Killraven Crime League: Kevris Killraven arrived in the city only recently, but in that short time this mysterious woman has created the second most powerful criminal organization in Ptolus. The league deals in extortion, prostitution, and illegal drugs. A number of nonhumans work for Killraven—troglodytes, ogres, and many other creatures.
Although early on Killraven was rumored to have ties with the Shuul technophiles and the Sorn mages, most now dismiss such tales as nonsense.
|Knights of the Golden Cross: An ancient order, the Knights of the Golden Cross, has remained alive through the extreme devotion of its members and their descendants. They oppose evil in all its forms, although they have a particular hatred for the wicked House Vladaam. They also revere the mysterious Elder Gods and serve as a focal point for the pantheon's re-introduction into society. The knights have a citadel in Oldtown. Their leader is an elf named Kaira Swanwing.|
|Knights of the Pale: The Knights of the Pale are a small order dedicated to combating supernatural threats, particularly demons and spellcasters. Although not an official organization of the Church of Lothian, they focus their whole organization on the veneration of Lothianite saints. Their leader, Dierna Hillerchaun, bases the order out of her home, a manor in Oldtown called the Bladechapel. The knights work with the Keepers of the Veil and the angelic Malkuth.|
|Longfingers Guild: This thieves' guild has enjoyed a long tradition in the city, but many say its day has passed in light of the growing power of other, broader criminal organizations. Its headquarters is said to lie deep below the city.|
|Malkuth, The: The Malkuth are a mysterious group of celestials and half-celestials who live in the Pale Tower in Oldtown. Little about them is known, as they keep to themselves and rarely come out of their impressive abode.|
|Order of the Fist: Calling themselves the Order of the Fist, a small band of monks and fighters believes in action: setting a goal and doing whatever it takes to achieve it. Although members may differ in their particular goals—even in their outlooks on the world—they all agree on the importance of going for what you want in life. Their leader is Wynn Rabinall, a male human.|
|Pale Dogs: A gang of young thieves based in the Warrens, the Pale Dogs paint their fingernails black and often wear double rings. They follow a mysterious figure named Jirraith and may have connections to the Balacazars or the Vai.|
|Shuul, The: Once a simple organization created to uphold the concept of order, the Shuul has grown over the years into a powerful force attempting to restore the prominence of technological devices such as firearms, clockwork devices, and steam technology in the city. Despite a predilection for machines, the Shuul do not reject magic, as one might expect. Instead they embrace it and see the union of magic and machine as the ultimate accomplishment.
Most members of the organization are humans and dwarves, particularly Grailwarden dwarves.
The Shuul maintain close ties with the Temple of Teun, the Mother of All Machines, as well as with House Shever.
|Sisterhood of Silence: Founded in Ptolus more than two hundred years ago, an all-female order calling itself the Sisterhood of Silence established itself as a major force for law and defense. While the order has since spread to other cities, the Priory of Introspection in Ptolus remains the central headquarters of the entire Sisterhood.
As their name suggests, the Sisters of Silence do not speak. Instead, they employ a cadre of devout eunuchs to speak for them. Among themselves, they use a complex set of signs, postures, and expressions to convey vast amounts of information quickly.
|Sorn, The: Rumors say this quasi-legal spellcaster organization maintains a close association with the Shuul. Others say its real backing comes from Kevris Killraven. Its members favor the use of technology and mechanical devices to supplement their magic.|
|Vai, The: The Vai is a wicked assassins' guild in Ptolus. Each member takes an oath to kill an intelligent creature every day. They are tied to almost every evil organization in the city in some way.|
|Viridian Lords: The men and woman calling themselves Viridian Lords are powerful, twisted rangers who haunt the wilderness of Palastan. These rangers have learned a way to fuse themselves with plants to grant themselves greater power and a stronger affinity for nature and the land.|
|Aoska: One of the Commissar's Twelve Commanders. A Malkuth woman with a unicorn horn growing out of her head.|
|Beck Von Tibbitz: Paladin and one of the leaders of the Keepers of the Veil.|
|Daersidian Ringsire: Well-known elf battle mage who rides a wyvern. Daersidian Ringsire is a friend of Sheva Callister and a fellow adventurer. He is never seen without his adventuring partner, the halfling rogue Brusselt Airmol. These two have made names for themselves with such diverse adventures as stopping an entire tribe of hill giants from raiding small communities outside of Ptolus, and infiltrating the manor of House Sadar looking for an artifact called the box of shadows.
|Dered Abanar: Head of House Abanar.|
|Devina Kath: Head of House Kath.|
|Dicxon: Jack's landlord.|
|Dierna Hillerchaun: Leader of the Knights of the Pale. Lives in a manor house called the Bladechapel in Oldtown.|
|Doraedian Mythlord: Elven master of Iridithil's Home, an elvish sanctuary. Very influential in town.|
|Dorant Khatru: Head of House Khatru.|
|Ebbert Boltcrafter: Dwarf who operates an outfitters' shop in Delver's Square.|
|Elna: The old mid-wife and nurse at the Silver Fox.|
|Emperor of the Church, The: Holy Emperor Rehoboth, who claims to be the rightful temporal Emperor as well.|
|Fabitor Thisk: Cleric and pastor of St. Gustav's Chapel, which caters to adventurers.|
|Igor Urnst: The Commissar of Ptolus.|
|Iristul Vladaam: Head of House Vladaam.|
|Iron Mage, The: Rarely seen in public. It's said that the Iron Mage is the most powerful wizard in Ptolus (he notably does not belong to the Inverted Pyramid).|
|Jevicca Nor: Human member of the Inverted Pyramid. Powerful sorceress.|
|Jirraith: Crime lord operating out of the Warrens. Runs the Pale Dogs.|
|Kevris Killraven: Female crime lord.|
|Kirian Ylestos: The Prince of the Church.|
|Kirstol Dallimothan: Lord of House Dallimothan. May be a dragon or half-dragon himself.|
|Kisa: A prostitute at the Silver Fox.|
|Lisette: A prostitute at the Silver Fox. She has an on-again/off-again relationship with Jack.|
|Madame Jordana: The owner of the Silver Fox. She was once the favorite of a cousin of the Vladaam family. The details are sketchy, but she became the owner of the Silver Fox shortly after that individual died.|
|Malkeen Balacazar: Son of the crime lord Menon.|
|Massandra: A prostitute at the Silver Fox. As she has gotten older, there isn't as much demand for services, but she stays at the house as cook. She feels, and sometimes acts, like a mother to several of the younger girls.|
|Menon Balacazar: Crime lord who also deals in necromancy and black magic, the trade of forbidden items, demonic slaves, etc.|
|Myraeth Tuneweaver: Elf who owns Myraeth's Oddities in Delver's Square. Sells odd trinkets, adventuring souvenirs, and minor magic stuff recovered from the Dungeon.|
|Pate: A scribe who makes his living as a forger. In exchange for doing the odd job, Pate has been teaching Jack to forge city identification papers. His shop is called The Poor Pen.|
|Peliope Erthuo: Head of House Erthuo.|
|Phadian Gess: A cleric of Lothian and one of the leaders of the Keepers of the Veil.|
|Rastor: Litorian who operates a weapon shop in Delver's Square.|
|Renn Sadar: Head of House Sadar.|
|Savane: Leader of the Shuul.|
|Sheva Callister: Sheva Callister is a well-known adventurer in Ptolus. She is retired, however, and has sold most of her equipment. She still frequents places like Delver's Square and the Undercity Market, though, and she still carries her infamous magical greatsword.|
|Sorum Dandubal: Guildmaster Delver and council member.|
|Steron Vsool: Human champion of Gaen. His heart glows so brightly that you can see it within his chest.|
|Tagel Unergart: Paladin of the Church of Lothian and head of the Order of the Dawn.|
|Tarin Ursalatao: Male human bard, uncanny in his charm.|
|Teon: The ten year old son of Kisa. He hero-worships Jack and is constantly asking about his latest job.|
|Thollos Shever: Head of House Shever.|
|Turnbuckle: A fence in the Midtown district. He lives in an elaborate mansion in the style of the old Empire, which is more common in the Oldtown district.|
|Urlant: The Assari bouncer at the Silver Fox. His mere presence is often enough to breakup any fight, as it is rumored he has been allowed to eat some of the more unruly patrons.|
|Urlenius, Star of Navashtrom: Ogre-mage cleric of Navashtrom, God of Harmony. Bears many ioun stones. Major representative of the Brotherhood of Redemption.|
|Verrana Rau: Head of House Rau.|
|Wynn Rabinall: High-level monk and leader of the Order of the Fist.|
|Yuinthu: A mind flayer that Jack originally met right before he left the city watch. He needed someone to retrieve some papers from a wealthy merchant. As a member of the watch, it wasn't too hard to gain the merchant's trust and get papers. There were suspicions that Jack did the job, but it was never proven. However, afterwards, Jack agreed with the watch commander's suggesting that he quit the watch. Yuinthu never told Jack what was in the papers that he stole.|
|Zade Kenevan: Human bartender at the Ghostly Minstrel. Bald, thin, and gruff.|
|Overview: Ptolus is primarily a trade city, serving not only as a major port but also as a link between the northwest and the central portions of the Empire of Tarsis. About two-thirds of the population is human, with the remaining third being (from most populous to least): Shoal elves, Stonelost dwarves, halflings, litorians, Grailwarden dwarves, gnomes, half-elves, centaurs (aram), orcs and half-orcs, and others—lizardfolk (assari), ogres, and far stranger things.|
|Aasimars: Graced with celestial blood in their veins, these fortunate scions of blessed creatures have a representative of Heaven as part of their heritage.|
|Aram: The Dwarvish name for these folk is "centaur." These half-horse, half-human people are boisterous, arrogant, and boorish, yet many find them likable nonetheless. They live in both Palastan and Rhoth. Many have found their way into human communities—but usually as individuals rather than groups.|
|Assari: More common in the lands to the south, these saurians attempt to keep out of the affairs of other races but often fail. Their own myths say they originated in a vast, swampy forest that once covered most of what is now the Cold Desert, Palastan, and the Whitewind Sea. Sages indicate there are reasons to believe this is true.|
|Dwarves: Although most call them "dwarves," their own name for their race is Haurdir, the Stalwart Kings of Order. There are two great overclans of dwarves in the known world—the Stonelost and the Grailwardens—but rumor claims there was once another.|
|Dwarves, Grailwarden: Deep within the mountains of the Prustan Peninsula, the Grailwarden dwarves build large underground cities devoted to industry. Their name comes from their stewardship of the White Grail, one of three powerful, linked magical artifacts (the Black Grail and the Unseen Grail are the other two).
While the Stonelost dwarves—and the Stonemight dwarves of Dwarvenhearth before them—developed stalwart fighting skills by warring against evil humanoids and dark elves, the Grailwarden dwarves focused their attention on science, craft, and even magic.
|Dwarves, Stonelost: These are the children of the dwarves of Dwarvenhearth, said to be the greatest of all dwarven cities. Although their small villages lie scattered about the north, since the evil lord Ghul's forces drove them from their glorious city, they no longer have the centralized focus they once did. Hence the name Stonelost.
When Ghul fell and Dwarvenhearth was liberated, influential dwarven leaders would not allow their people to repopulate the city. No one knows why. Instead, the city was sealed.
|Elves: Their ancient name aduel deaistorm refers to the seven "Races of Chaos," for once there were many more types of elf than one can find today (although the dark elves and Harrow elves are technically additions). Today, the Elder Elves are thought to be extinct. Elves have always preferred the deep woods or the open sea to the mountains or cities, magic over the mundane, the moon and stars over the sun.
When non-elves simply say "elf," they're probably referring to the Shoal elves, or simply the Shoal. Generally dark-haired, these elves are prevalent in the Sea Kingdoms, for they love the sea and ships. Some can be found in the Moonsilver Forest along the Whitewind Sea as well, but they care less for the cold, and so are fewer in number than those in the south. Elves in the world of Praemal need sleep, like humans and other races.
|Elves, Cherubim: More common in the western mountains, these winged elves are frail but graceful even by elven standards. They live mainly in Cherubar, a land named for them. They are aloof (again, even by elven standards) and rarely travel outside their homeland.|
|Elves, Harrow: The parents and grandparents of these very rare individuals were tortured and changed by the dark lord Ghul almost a thousand years ago. Once Elder Elves, they now are misshapen and cursed, often displaying perverse magical powers. While not strictly evil, most seem continually besieged by some darker nature within, tugging at them to do wrong.|
|Gnomes: Frequently mistaken for halflings (or the other way around), gnomes are the rarest of the major races, particularly in Ptolus. Unlike halflings, they are more likely to consort with elves than with humans. They favor song and magic over just about anything else, often combining the two (in fact, some call them "loresong faen"). They dwell throughout the lands of Cherubar, Rhoth, Palastan, and the Sea Kingdoms.|
|Litorians: Once masters of the Plains of Panish to the east, the golden-maned, feline litorians were scattered in the Wars of Fire thousands of years ago. Small prides hunt here and there in the wilderness, and occasionally a litorian attempts to fit into a human culture.|
|Minotaurs: Although most of them are quite bestial, some minotaurs are intelligent and civilized—albeit bloodthirsty by most people's standards. Most of these intelligent individuals are outcasts, although sometimes they become leaders. They often become powerful sorcerers or clerics as well.|
|Orcs: Orc myth contends that these creatures were birthed by an evil demon god, although some ancient texts claim they were created by an evil wizard. It is impossible to dispute, however, that the orcs who dwell in the area around Ptolus were modified and bred by the evil lord Ghul. The Toruk-Rul orcs are large, bestial, and ferocious. Their name means "closing fist" and they typify everything that people think of when they say "orc." The Sorn-Ulth ("bleeding breath") orcs are dark skinned and smaller than the Toruk-Rul orcs, bred for evil magic and stealth. Both of these greater orc tribes live along the coast of the Whitewind Sea. The orcs who call themselves Ornu-Nom ("howling axe") never suffered Ghul's manipulations.
They dwell in the wilderness throughout Palastan and Rhoth. The Ornu-Nom have a sense of savage nobility to them, but they remain the deadly enemies of humans and most other races.
|Session 1 - Rise of the Ratlings: PCs/Players
Amric (Dwf Bar 2 - Rees)
Egan (Hlf Rog 2 - Alex)
Gowyr (Hum Clr 2 - Rees)
Zenos (1/2E Sor 2 - Alex)
Our fine heros hear rumor that Ratlings (they look like wererats in the hybrid mode, but are not were-creatures) have been getting bold and raiding out of the sewers. The Ratcatcher's Guild, who keep rats (and occasionally ratling) populations down, report that some of their members have gone missing.
Amric considers this news along with the discovery that getting into Dwarvenhearth will not be as easy as he thought. The fool Haurdir have sealed off Dwarvenhearth as a holy site and will not let anyone pass into the known entrances.
"I say we investigate this ratling menace. If we capture a few, we may find a new way into Dwarvenhearth." Amric realizes the odds are not good as the ratlings tend to stay in the sewers and not into the depths the lead to Dwarvenhearth, but action is better than words.
The group wanders into the Guild District, which is a nice overlap between the ratling activity and the surface is thought to be over Dwarvenhearth. The first foray during the night leads us to a tannery. There are some unusual signs of activity, so the group investigates. After Egan hears squeeking noises behind a door, the group goes in. There are three dire rats. Egan surprises one and kills it with a bullet from is sling. Armic rushes in and kills one with is falchion. Gowyr hits one with a crossbow bolt, but does not drop it. The wounded rat attempts to flee but is cut down by Armic. Three rat tails, worth 3 gold each, are acquired.
Upon investigation, it appears that ratlings were in the tannery first and overturned a vat of curing liquid (urine). Doing some rudimentary tracking leads to an entrance to the sewers that appears disturbed. Amric has Egan take a good look around, and he spots two ratlings lurking in the nearby alleys. A battle ensues.
Armic charges forward and cuts one ratling in half (critical hit and power attack). Gowyr steps forward to protect Amric's back and awaits the ratling. Egan and Zenos fire ranges weapons but miss. The ratling steps forward and Gowyr strikes but misses (readied action). Armic, in the lust of battle, rages and steps over to the second ratling. His falchion cleanly removes the ratlings head in one swing (nearly a second critical).
Two more rat tails for our hero's.
Egan "sooo, weren't we trying to take a ratling alive....?"
|Calendar, Ptolus: The months of the year are:
The days of the week are:
|Timeline: BE = Before the Empire of Tarsis
IA = Imperial Age
|Shadow Company||Unlikely Friends|
|Waxlight||Reach for the Sky||Legacy of Giants|