Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #244
September 2nd, 2023
Name: Deep Dive on a Site of Interest: The Borderlands – Part 6
Location: In the Borderlands south of the Salistin Ridge and Heliostat Citadel
Population (approx.): 75 (base) and 1457 (surrounding community)
Brief: Millenia ago the tall mesas of the wastes, south of the Ulu Maug range, were home to nests of Pterosaurs, who used the hot winds of the desert to hunt far and wide. Their calls, like screams of thunder, echoed about the columns of stone.
Years passed and the beasts died off, leaving empty nests burrowed into the tops and sides of the granite towers. Exiled clans of Gnomish raiders found the site, scaled the walls and made those caves into their new base of operation. They declared themselves the Imperial Gnomish Empire and their engineers raised the specter of the Pterosaurs from the dead in the form of mechanical flying vehicles that they launched from concealed bases.
Stone doors, on metal tracks, withdrew into caverns. Rails were snapped into place, extending into the air and the Automaton Pterosaur was catapulted down a slope and into the skies. Wings unfolded and the airship flew into the distance. Once missions were done, the craft returned to the top of the mesa, circled to land and was lowered by elevator to the cavern below.
Mantor Wildhide, 127, male Gnome, a pilot of a metal Pterosaur. He is small and a little stout. He adores flying and wears his long hair tied back for his trips on the dinosaur. Mantor has yellow-green eyes and a friendly smile. He wears long pants and colorful tunics that highlight his eyes. He wears a tool belt that contains items that help him fix his metal ride.
Mantor always knew he wanted to be a pilot but needed help getting accepted into the Imperial Gnomish Air Corps (IGAC). As a youth, Mantor got into many altercations with other Gnomes. He even spent a brief time in prison. Once Mantor left prison, he took his first dinosaur ride and knew he had found his calling. He began by cleaning up his act and devoted much time to keeping other Gnomes out of trouble. While helping others, a Gnome colonel noticed him and later helped him get into the IGAC.
Mantor lives in the barracks with other pilots. He has several friends, and they spend time helping others. Mantor adores reading and borrows books and scrolls from everyone around the base and the nearby Gnomish community. One day, Mantor hopes to get married and have a family, but he is in no rush now and takes each day as it comes.
Geography: The “Imperial Gnomish Empire” has called the buttes and mesas a week’s trek south of Salistin Ridge (#241) their home for at least six hundred years, formed as the Ta’arnan Empire completely collapsed and the leaders of the once allied Gnome raider clans knew it was time to relocate. The Pterosaur air base is concealed at the top of a mesa about 700 feet tall. The abandoned nest was expanded to feature a central hangar about 40 feet wide and a hundred feet deep. Metal doors, each 10-foot wide with stone facings to resemble the mesa, cover the opening. At the back of the hangar an elevator, large enough for the airship, connects the chamber to the top of the mesa. Tunnels connect the space to surrounding workshops, barracks and a mess hall. A vertical tube, with a spiral staircase about a central elevator, connects the base to the community in caverns below and throughout the nearby mesas and buttes.