Sunday, July 23, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 29

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 29

Compiling week 29 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive of a site of interest, West Rift and Mining Station 4A of the City-State of Carasta as shown below:


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #197 

July 16th, 2023 

  • Number: 197 

  • Name: Sequential Dive on a Site of Interest: West Rift Ventures of Carasta Part 1: Another Crack in the World 

  • Location:  Center of the Narrows between the Sleeping Woods and the Furnace 

  • Population (approx.): None so far 

  • Brief: The machines of the underearth (whether elemental, wurm or dragon) are causing the northen land of Norgorfel to move slowly west and the southern land of Sudeben to move east. This causes the Narrows to slowly stretch and widen over time, eons ago creating Engruch the land between the two continents. The movement creates rifts and valleys stretching south to north. Depths vary but it is rumored that some of these crevices may be bottomless (reaching the realms of the Underdark, demons, dragons and other Fell dangers). Inland explorers beware! 

  • Earthquakes usually herald the appearance of a new tear in the surface of Aenwyld. A strong tremblor opened a crevasse west of the Furnace. Outriders of the Miners or Travellers Guilds rush to explore the sites, usually searching for minerals and gems, but this time something unique was discovered. The first scout to arrive saw remains of structures jutting out of the walls of the opening twenty to fifty feet below the surface. News reached Carasta and interested Guilds immediately huddled resulting in the Mercenaries, Miners and Travellers Guilds forming a concern, “West Rift Ventures,” (WRV) to explore and, if there was potential, exploit the site. The formation of a registered concern allows the group to claim the land of the site to use as they see fit, without interference of other Guilds or competing concerns, as protected by the rules and charters of the Guild Collegium. 

  • Geography: The newly formed (and discovered) rift is about 30 miles west of the northern end of the Furnace (#23) and about 50 miles southeast of the Sleeping Woods (#62). The scout’s report measures the rift at currently about 20 miles wide, running roughly east to a touch south of west. The width at its widest is currently 150 yards but sections of both sides are reportedly unstable and might collapse into the unmeasured depths at any moment. The Traveller’s Guild scouts and builders are blazing a trail from Woodland Path (#98) west of south toward the approximated north end of the new rift. 

  • Next Article: West Rift Ventures Part 2: Base Camp 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #198 

July 17th, 2023 

  • Number: 198 

  • Name: Sequential Dive on a Site of Interest: West Rift Ventures of Carasta Part 2: Base Camp 

  • Location:  Center of the Narrows between the Sleeping Woods and the Furnace 

  • Population (approx.): 60 

  • Brief: Once the venture was established, the expedition was assembled and departed Carasta for the West RiftA week later, following the trail blazed by the scouts, the caravan arrived at the site and set up camp a goodly distance from the west edgeThe miners of the Guild, hearty Dwarves and Men, began digging a shaft into the earth closer to the edge. The dirt is sifted for artifacts and ores and then used to build a rampart about camp. Any finds are examined by participating scholars and magicians like Sarya Trisric. At the precipice, the explorers of the Travellers including Folwin Trisric, begin their descent into the rift to investigate the ruins spotted from above. 

  • Folwin Trisric, 146, Elf man is an expert Explorer and Scout for the Traveller's Guild. He is tall and has a slightly muscular build. He wears his long chestnut hair in a knot underneath a wide-brimmed hat that all Guild members must wear. Folwin has violet eyes and a determined demeanor. He wears the uniform of the Guild, which is leather dyed various shades of green. Folwin uses a longbow and an inherited long sword as weapons. 

  • Folwin joined the Traveller's Guild many years ago. He enjoys the discovery of new locations and exploring new possibilities. Folwin was a foundling at an artifact site. It was so unusual for an Elf to be a foundling that the leaders of his tribe, the Elves of Feystone Woods, took it as a good omen and adopted him. His parents gave him an excellent education, while his Uncle Galrin taught him the outdoors. His long career has allowed him to be the first on-site to many exciting locations. 

  • Folwin is happily married to Sarya, 140, Elf woman. They are currently expecting their first child. Sarya is a member of the Traveller's Guild and often journeys with Folwin. She is a talented mage with a knack for finding valuable artifacts at new excavations. 

  • Over the course of the next two weeks the expedition discovered that the exposed structure in the rift, 50 feet below the surface, was the top of a five to six story building split by the rift. The shaft being dug eventually encounters another buried building about 100 feet underground. 

  • Geography: Base camp was built about 250 yards from the west edgeThe initial configuration was a central large tent surrounded by a dozen smaller tents. Those were slowly encircled by the earthen rampart. Horses were tied off to one side with wagons parked nearby. The main shaft into the earth was started about 50 yards from the edge. Two buildings have been discovered, one 30 yards below the surface at the shaft, and the other, 15 yards below the surface at the Rift. 

  • Next Article: West Rift Ventures Part 3: What Lies Buried Was Revealed 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #199 

July 18th, 2023 

  • Number: 199 

  • Name: Sequential Dive on a Site of Interest: West Rift Ventures of Carasta Part 3: What Lies Buried Was Revealed 

  • Location:  Center of the Narrows between the Sleeping Woods and the Furnace 

  • Population (approx.): 125 

  • Brief: The unearthing of the building in the shaft was followed almost immediately by two other discoveries; the roof of the building was covered in a layer of some sort dense pale green packed powder or crystal, and a humanoid, but not Man, Elf or any known Kin, skeleton was found on the top floor of the structure in the riftThis led to an immediate pivot of the expedition. The Miners turned over their first shaft (S1) to the expedition and the Explorers rigged a lift from the rift’s edge to the upper stories of the revealed building. Samples of the powder and the skeleton were carefully collected and brought to a new tent, separated from base camp and surrounded by a new rampart, for examination. The Miners started two other shafts, hoping to avoid further ruins, and started rigging lines and building an elevator to explore the rift to the bottom. The Travellers contacted the Scholars at Carasta who sent one of their best to the site. 

  • Wemwoda "Wem" Wyverndelver, 121, Dwarf woman, is an Archaeologist who now leads the excavation of the ruins. She is short, chubby, and full of life. Wem's black hair is short, almost a military cut. Her amber eyes sparkle when she finds something new at a dig. Wem dresses in billowy pants that have many pockets. She favors tight-fitting blouses that won't impede her work. She refuses to carry weapons, preferring to let others defend her. 

  • Wem was ecstatic when the expedition discovered these ruins. The Guilds of the West Rift Concern immediately put her in charge. The dig has been going well except for her second-in-command, Kumec, 100, Dwarf, who thought he should be in control. The two have had many arguments, and unbeknownst to Wem, Kumec has started to sabotage the dig. 

  • Wem is married to her work. She adores being an aunt to her two nieces, Odea, 50, and Naddoni, 43. She spends much time visiting her sister, Danebena, 118, the children's mother who lives along the coast of Staplefish Bay. One day, she hopes to contribute a significant find to the Dwarven community. She sincerely hopes that this excavation will provide that opportunity. 

  • No further skeletons have been found so far, but explorers and miners are on the lookout. The green encrustation has been spotted in the interior corners and by the broken windows of the portion of the building exposed by formation of the Rift. 

  • Geography: The Miners have started two new shafts, S2 and S3, each about 30 yards away from the first shaft parallel with the edge of the rift. The new elevator is being built to the west side of the ruined building in the rift. The new tent for examination of findings has been built about halfway between base camp and the first shaft, surrounded by its own earthen rampart. The expansion of activity has led to a doubling of the number of people on site, with a commensurate expansion in the number of tents and initial construction of more permanent wooden shelters. 

  • Next Article: West Rift Ventures Part 4: Loots and Consequences 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #200 

July 19th, 2023 

  • Number: 200 

  • Name: Sequential Dive on a Site of Interest: West Rift Ventures of Carasta Part 4: Loot and Consequences 

  • Location:  Center of the Narrows between the Sleeping Woods and the Furnace 

  • Population (approx.): 210 

  • Brief: The work of the West Rift Ventures continued. A second mining shaft encountered another buried green-coated building and was turned over to the scholars. But the third continued into the depths below the buried city. At the rift, the miners reached the rubble choked floor of the crevasse, finding further artifacts among steam vents and orange-glowing cracks in the earth suggesting lava in the deeper depths. Both ore miners and artifact miners expanded their crews bringing laborers and additional experts such as Branbrick late of the Gold Mountains. 

  • Branbrick, 79, Dwarf man, is an artifact miner who loves the feel of all types of dirt. He is of average height and wears several tattoos on his arms and legs. Branbrick has brown hair with streaks of blonde throughout it. His beard is full and separated into three braids. He wears dark pants, long sleeve shirts, and a leather tool belt. Branbrick can defend himself with a large hammer if necessary. 

  • Branbrick has been working for the Miner's Guild for almost 50 years. He is quite skilled in knowing how to sort dirt from historical pieces carefully. This makes him a valued commodity by Wemwoda Wyverndelver (#199). He enjoys working on digs and has a vivid imagination. Branbrick often makes up stories about the pieces they found during the day. He tells them at the campfire in the evenings. 

  • Branbrick is a bit of a "player." He finds a new female at every dig site. He doesn't care about their race; he knows the relationship won't last long. Branbrick doesn't get along with his family and has few serious friends. He enjoys telling his stories and writes in a journal just before he goes to sleep. 

  • One evening Branbrick is taking a stroll after a moment back at camp when he encounters a furious Wemwodar searching for Kumec, as the man skipped a meeting and can’t be found. They head toward the mine shafts but stop suddenly at the tents being used to store the artifacts and remains for one of the tents appears oddly distorted with a faint green glow filtering through the seams and at the base along the ground. Branbrick yanks the tent flap open, and they discovered the entire interior is filled with an irregular mound of pale green translucent material of some sort, and encased within, near the center, is the silent form of Kumec. 

  • It takes Branbrick, Wemwoda and other miners nearly an hour to dig through the green stone-like material. By the time they reach the center, Kumec is long deadSarya Trisric (#198), arriving at the scene, notes that it appears Kumec was doing something with all of the green powder samples collected to date. Later scholars and magicians, investigating this strange occurrence, note the green stone slowly shrinks over time, becoming the dense green powder again.  

  • Geography: The miners begin a 4th shaft about 30 yards away from the shaft that did not encounter the ruins. The rift elevator is now fully operational, and the rift crews are assembling scaffolding against the rift wall to facilitate digging tunnels horizontally into the earth. The “tent of the green tomb,” as now nicknamed, and adjacent artifact tents, are under armed guard 24 hours a day. Samples of the green powder, with much care, are collected and dispatched to Carasta along with some bones and an artifact or two. 

  • Next Article: West Rift Ventures Part 5: Not Dead and Buried 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #201 

July 20th, 2023 

  • Number: 201 

  • Name: Sequential Dive on a Site of Interest: West Rift Ventures of Carasta Part 5: Not Dead and Buried 

  • Location:  Center of the Narrows between the Sleeping Woods and the Furnace 

  • Population (approx.): 340 

  • Brief: Despite Kumec’s death, the scholars and magicians continued to, now carefully, collect the green dust. Sarya Trisric (#198) eventually determined that the substance, in the presence of essence, transformed and engulfed the source of the magics. She theorized that city was targeted by some foe who encapsulated it in the material killing some outright and leaving the remaining population to suffocate or starve. The material compressed and shrank as time passed and Aenwyld consumed the city. The residue on the outer surfaces and numerous bodies found within buildings and the few discovered on the city streets led credence to the theory. The nature and age of the population defined analysis due to the dust. 

  • The excavation and mining operations expanded in parallel. The attendant Mercenary Guild company expanded their presence as valuables were discovered in both the mines and the buried city. Miao Dewbrow, recently arrived from Carasta was one of those guards. 

  • Miao Dewbrow, 23, Human, is a mercenary for the Ring of Hawks Mercenary Company. She is tall and has bright red hair and pale blue eyes. High on her left arm, she has tattooed the symbol of the Ring of Hawks, a large golden ring with 4 Hawks clasping it. Miao's standard armor is leather pants and a chain shirt. She uses a long sword and a kynac as weapons. 

  • Miao is new to the mercenary trade and is enjoying steady work. She enjoys her various assignments and the requisite training with others in her Company. Miao isn't sure about her current position, as there isn't much to guard. Fortunately, there is time to train and exciting people to talk to. 

  • Miao has become friends with one of the Dwarven diggers, Raneal Axerock, 45, Dwarf. The two of them enjoy geology and are trying to figure out what to make of all the green stuff that has been discovered. Both are single and have planned to meet at a local tavern when this job is done. 

  • Later one day, Miao is on watch in the excavated city. Nearby a scholar is examining a recently unearthed, green-covered statue of some sort of unrecognizable quadrupedal beast. A tremor runs through the surrounding earth, causing rock to fall into the statue. There’s a *ping* as the solid green coating cracks. Silence and then the statue animates, shedding the green with a shudder and roars in displeasure. The scholar is trampled before he can flee. Miao bellows an alarm and with the help of other guards and miners, they manage to disable the entity, but not before it wounds everyone and kills two. Another mystery for the expedition, how did this creature survive while the population perished. Several other similar “statues,” once unearthed, were carefully sheltered versus inadvertent damage. 

  • Geography: The West Rift site continues to expand. The shafts into the city have been expanded and fitted with horse and person-powered elevators to transport people and earth to the surface. A chamber resembling a squashed hemisphere about 40 yards across has been carved between the two access points. A half-dozen buildings connected by sidewalks and remains of a thoroughfare have been revealed.  

  • The mines continue to expand in rift, with two levels of tunnels expanding beneath the entombed city. Platforms cover portions of the floor of the rift allowing for further exploration. The strata, and hence the ores discovered and to be mined, are very similar of that to the east at Deep Mining Station 3A (#23)  

  • Next Article: West Rift Ventures Part 6: Grand Theft Wagon 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #202 

July 21st, 2023 

  • Number: 202 

  • Name: Sequential Dive on a Site of Interest: West Rift Ventures of Carasta Part 6: Grand Theft Wagon 

  • Location:  Center of the Narrows between the Sleeping Woods and the Furnace 

  • Population (approx.): 485 

  • Brief: As the site and its work expanded, the camp transitioned from tents to temporary cabins to a semblance of a village, with an initially uninspired name of West Rift, with a mix of wooden and a few stone structures. With permanent buildings came a need for additional workers of more traditional occupations including artisans like blacksmiths, tailors and tinkers and service employees like shopkeepers, cleaners and cooks. The latter provided an opportunity for the Society of the Ebon Fangs (a criminal concern headquartered in Obermarsh to the north) to place an agent in the village. The Guilds established a headquarters featuring apartments, offices, and meeting rooms for notable supervisory personnel. Lastly a private dining hall was built, and a skilled chef was recruited to manage the kitchen. Said chef never arrived, kidnapped by agents of the Ebon Fangs from his wagon (full of cooking gear) midway between Sleeping Woods (#62) and West Rift then replaced by the gregarious and diminutive Jansire Flintfellow. 

  • Jansire Flintfellow, 63, Halfling man, is a Thief who works for Sasha Nightbough’s Society of the Ebon Fangs. He is diminutive and has a scar on his right brow. He wears his pale white close-cropped hair close to his face with a pigtail that goes down the back. Jansire's eyes are big and jade colored. His outfit of choice is quilted armor dyed green and brown. He favors long cooking knives (that double as daggers) as weapons. 

  • When Sasha learned about this dig, she immediately thought of Jansire and his talents. Once he received word from Sasha, he found out who was hired for the job as a chef for the archaeological team and replaced him. Jansire listens to what everyone says during meals and has talked to most people at the site. No one suspects who he works for; some might even call him a friend. 

  • Jansire has worked for Sasha for many years. He is married to Zefsna, 57, Halfling, and they have two children, Osder, 3, and Grada, 1. Zefsna works for Sasha and is currently on a break to take care of the children. Jansire has a very easy-going personality and makes friends easily. Few would suspect him of his devious nature. 

  • The cook is quietly learning all he can about day-to-day operations at West Rift, especially the location of notable finds whether ores or relics. The intelligence is delivered to Sasha coded into Jansire’s orders to a specific merchant in Arrowwick  for unique food and drink to stock the kitchenThe Ebon Fangs are skilled at the long game and Sasha will not direct them to act until the time is right. 

  • Geography: West Rift has slowly evolved to resemble a typical village built at the end of the trail from Sleeping Woods. The original earth berm received a wooden palisade and became the center of town with the headquarters and other Venture dormitories and warehouses within, a reinforced wooden gate facing the world. New permanent structures for businesses and residences encircled those buildings, they in turn encircled by an outer wall of earth and wood.  

  • The excavations and the mines, the latter formalized by the Mining Guild as Deep Mining Station 4A, continued to expand. In the depths below the floor of the rift, the magma popped and hissed, tremors shaking the surface as it rose and fell. 

  • Next Article: West Rift Ventures Part 7: All Fall Up and Down 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #203 

July 22nd, 2023 

  • Number: 203 

  • Name: Sequential Dive on a Site of Interest: West Rift Ventures of Carasta Part 7: All Fall Up and Down 

  • Location:  Center of the Narrows between the Sleeping Woods and the Furnace 

  • Population (approx.): 515 

  • Brief: What does the future hold for West Rift and Deep Mining Station 4A? Here are some events that could be part of the future for the site:  

  • The expedition is surprised when a small delegation apparently from The Sleeping Woods (#62) appears at the gates of West Rift. The Elves wander the area, taking particular interest in the size of the rift, but say nothing and depart soon after their arrival. 

  • Magma rises within the rift, raising the ground and hinting at a potential volcanic eruption. The miners have a limited amount of time to react, make ready and potentially evacuate. 

  • The “Gatherer” Baron Peregrine (#28) makes a surprise attack on West Rift hoping to seize much needed coin and resources, plus make a statement to Carasta regarding control of the center of the Narrows. 

  • The excavators of the ruins accidentally uncover and activate a group of the guardian constructs, leading to battles in the caverns and a frantic escape to the surface. 

  • An earthquake shakes the site and causes cracks and fissures to open throughout the ruins and the mines. One fissure connects to a nearby underground stream which begins to flood either the caverns or pours into the rift, leading to steam explosions when the water meets the magma below. 

  • During the distraction of one of these events, Jansire and the Ebon Fangs make their move, making it appear the cook is lost and perhaps dead in the confusion, but departing with a substantial number of valuables. 

  • Geography: As of this moment, West Rift and Deep Mining Station 4A cover most of the 250 yards between the original campsite and the rift. West Rift has turned into a bustling boom town centered around the expedition headquarters, surrounded by businesses of various sorts, those encircled by hours, hotels and boarding houses. The trail from Woodland Path (#98) has been transformed into a broad avenue capable of supporting the heavily armored wagons previously seen on the road from Deep Mining Station 3A (#23) It passes by West Rift and ends at the warehouses and furnaces of the mines at the rift.  

  • The shafts into the cavern of the lost city have been converted to elevators and a grand staircase descends into the depths between them. The excavated chamber is about 50 yards across, and new finds are reported almost daily. The mines have expanded to 4 levels of galleries into the earth, connected to the surface by two heavy freight elevators, a fast personnel elevator and two staircases affixed to the rift walls. A platform sits on columns above the rift floor, supporting drills that drive into the rift floor to sample the magma below. 



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