Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Seven Lakes, Part 2

Busy renovating the bathroom of our first house - when we moved in, we knew it had to happen, as the shower not working and the salmon pinky/orange & pale blue colours made it difficult to love.

But at we prepare to paint it all tomorrow (so the electrican can connect the lights and I can go biking in the weekend) here's something I found lurking in my drafts, following on, presumably, from an earlier post on the Seven Lakes region. It didn't get much use, but here's some flotsam from the streets of the city;

Things you might find on the streets of Rotogawa;

1. A rabble of goblins, wearing cast-offs and heavily modified human clothing, often with metal coins sewn into it.  These are usually found at the few major intersections, and they will politely (for a goblin) inquire if they can assist passers by with luggage, directions or running errands.  The price is always "a coin".  Any metal, make or design.  In fact, due to their protective value when sewn into clothing, copper and iron coins are more highly sought than gold or silver.

 The goblins of the Lake have been well and truly seduced by civilisation.  Their dirt warrens run alongside the garbage pile, of which the goblins revel in reclaiming and recycling any and all items discarded by other inhabitants.  They are even more docile and stupid than normal goblins too, which can generally be attributed to the brewings of Ezenal Thrump, a human Alchemist of little skill.  He has a large vat in his yard, though, which is fed by an ingenious rainwater collection pipe.  Into this, he piles all the dead vermin, cut hair, and venomous fungi he can collect.  The foetid, rank product is drained from the base of the vat into small clay flasks, that he sells (under the cover of darkness) to any goblin with a silver or richer coin.  If drunk by a human, it would induce unconsciousness, permanent nausea, and a dimming of all metal facilities.  Apparently, it does the same to goblins, but they enjoy the sensation.

2. Town Guards.  The most visible two are Tial and Shem, both born and raised locally, although their deep copper skin marks them as having family origins in the far side of the Empire.  Tial is slightly taller than average, well muscled but carrying some fat, with messy black hair and pretensions of facial hair. Shem is half a foot shorter and the same broader across the shoulders, and is much woollier.  They are scruffy, disreputable and streetsmart, and can take all the usual issues of the City in their stride.  Anything else is usually dealt with by them both disappearing to a local bar, and returning 15 minutes later, well liquored and ready to face anything.  They are usually on night shift, having annoyed their Captain, and will gladly spend their free, and working, time associating with sell-swords, hedge wizards, and thieves.

3. Hanazor Machin, a representative example of the local class of Alchemists.  Originally from one of the Islands in the Storm Reach, he arrived here 10 years ago on the trail of a fungus that could replace the need for honey in healing salves.  He found, instead, coloured clay that added extra potency to enhancement potions, frog eggs that altered the eater's voice, and a vast collection of mosses and ferns that he is still experimenting on.  For any alchemist in the City, roll a few times on a random potion chart and use modified versions of these as their unique 'specialities'.

Hanazor also found a local wife in the form of a younger daughter of an exiled Empire family, and now spends a lot of time exploring the local area, avoiding family feuding and complaining about historical actions.  He has located a cave below the surface of one of the smaller lakes, which leads to an airfilled chamber that contains an armoured skeleton sitting on a rock throne, holding a gleaming two-handed sword. Although he visits often to catch the larva of a particular mayfly (essential for a complicated and expensive light-green cordial that allows the drinker an untroubled nights sleep, regardless of curses, hauntings, or disease), he is terrified of disturbing the dead warrior.  He also has an agreement with a few goblins, to lead obviously rich travellers to his small but efficient shop. This has led to a few problems in the past, given the mental state of the average local goblin...

Average Gleaner
4. Gleaners; a viable profession in this area, at least for those who dislike normal work but thrive on danger, carefulness and risk (i.e those that would be petty thieves in most other cities).  As the community is rather close-knit, and the penalty of being caught stealing is having your hands cut off and being handed to the Lake Folk for their sacrifices to the Lake Gods, alternate options to get rich quick were sought.

The ruins of the Los Mehno produce little rich and exotic treasure without an equivalent amount of danger and effort, and these men and women possess little talent or stomach for hard, risky work. However, they have found that following along behind groups of armed treasure seekers as they spring or disarm traps, slay (or are slain by) undead or golem  guardians and solve tricky magical puzzles can produce some rewards to the cautious.

 The broken pottery vases containing a few coppers, chipped pewter plates, dented armour, strange bones or even tattooed skin cut from the hide of undead goblins that lurk in some sections. These are passed over by tomb robbers and treasure hunters, but can be stuffed (quietly) into a sack, and carried back, to sell to alchemists, tourists, minor gentry and the like, for a few coppers.

Occasionally something more exotic, expensive, or downright dangerous can be 'gleaned'. One example is the time Grazos the Mute, somewhat hopeless at everything in life except running away from things, discovered, in a little travelled and dusty chamber, a secret room. It was bare, except for the skeleton of a slain Swordswoman from the South, and a headless skeleton holding a glowing wand made of some crystal. Of course, a beggar, carrying a wand that fired glowing bolts at random, pursued by both the corpse of the Swordswoman and the skeleton (carrying it's elongated head under it's arm), caused a commotion or two, and even five years on, is a favoured tale in some of the less formal taverns.

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