Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Excerpt: The Adventurer's Guide to Miles

Rough Map of Miles

We've been preparing rapidly to take the 10th Age on the road to GenCon. Our offering this year is going to be a free booklet (though it is starting to look more like a book now) and we're really struggling to get all the art and text in on time. Here are some entries from the book, culled at random, and above is the rough map that I've worked out for Stephen and Danny to turn into a real piece of art.

Enjoy, and look for more (free!) at GenCon!

M2. Temple of the Seven Gates
Just down the via cinis from the College lies the Temple of the Seven Gates. Life and death in such close proximity! This temple is much more imposing and dark than Avauna’s, by design. The walls are made of an ashy gray-black stone and they are almost without adornment save for the absolutely massive pillars that stretch up along the exterior of the building. The roof is a gloomy black slate, and the very archway into the sacred interior is framed by two giant-sized statues of cloaked and hooded figures that hold up the keystone.

Just outside the archway and the huge brass doors stands the outer altar, a chunk of volcanic obsidian that has been cut and hewed by centuries of workers into the shape of a rounded arch. Burning on the altar at all times are seven candles of red-colored tallow who’s tall tapers emit a brilliant blue light.

Penitents are not permitted inside the hall of the Seven Gates unless they’re members of the inner cult. I’ve never been that interested in death and dying (mostly, I’ve spent my time trying to avoid both) so I don’t know what it looks like inside. There are always attendants standing by the altar, however, every time of day or night. They can answer your questions about the temple and even perform some basic services for you.

All in all, I’d say this is a place to avoid unless you’re thinking of passing into the netherworld some time soon.

M10. Signe of the Frothing Mug
The monks of Heimir run this inn and tavern, as they run many such throughout the world under the sign painted with a mug brimming with ale. This is one of the absolute largest of all the Signes I have ever seen. An L-shaped building with four stories that jetty out over the road.

The wing thrown back away from the street is the cloistered section of the monastery, where only the monks may go. The other wing contains three taprooms and the many inn rooms that the brothers hold for guests. The monks will take whatever you can afford in exchange for rooms and drinks, as the God of Hospitality demands as much from his servants.

The Signe itself is a daub building all done up in dark woods and high-backed chairs. Tapestries depicting Heimir’s infamous antics can be seen hanging on almost every wall. The monks are always kind and attentive, even to those with little money. I myself would look out for Brother Thomas, the most rotund of all the brothers there. His appetite knows no bounds and, as such, he has the most learned opinion on all the food in the house and as Brother Cellarer he knows the contents of the larder like no other monk on the premises!

M15. The Blue Stag

The Blue Stag is an inn complex with a large stables in the narrow streets between the via sacra and Eleia’s road. Near to the Smithy of Lorevan (M34) and the Golden Lamp Tavern (M27), the Blue Stag is an inn and tavern much-frequented by travelers.

The Stag was founded by the young nobleman Darius (called “the Hunter”) who gave up his family name to fight the bandits of the Noranian Forest during the time of Tamerin the First. Darius’ children now own the place, and they’ve done well by it.

It has its own large inn-yard, a separate stone kitchen, three stories in the main building and an entire wing devoted to rooms. The stables are an important feature, since they bring in many adventures to the Stag (after all, how many places do you go without your mounts and wagons?)

The cost was two silver towers a night the last time I was there, or a week-long stay for nine towers. Vaegris and Therius run the bar and kitchen respectively, two good boys that have each spent times under arms as adventurers themselves!

M16. Wyrmsfoot Inn

At the base of Wyrm Hill and on the Dragonmarket stands the Wyrmsfoot Inn. It is a huge square building, the bottom two floors being built of gray granite. The upper two floors are jettied out over the market and from them hang lanterns wrought in the shape of curling dragons.

The shallow steps that lead up to the door are framed by ancient oak trees that grow up before the building, brushing against the upper stories with their long-fingered branches. Just inside is a long hallway where alcoves hold statues of Vaela and Heimir, as is common amongst mannish inns.

Branching off of this hall one can find a pair of taprooms and at its far end is the landing that leads upstairs to the rooms. The Wyrmsfoot is decorated in green and burgundy wall-hangings, most of the tapestry subjects (appropriately) are dragons.

The owner of the Wyrmsfoot is Garavan Suvel, a wizard of some renown. He has his laboratory and library within the inn itself, protected by powerful warding spells. He enjoys tending bar and telling jokes to his patrons.

The Wyrmsfoot isn’t exactly cheap at five towers a night, but Garavan’s character enough to make it worth while.
M44. The Cup & Coin

The Cup & Coin is yet another tavern. This is one that I wouldn’t recommend, as it is generally filled with riff-raff from the lower city. There are tile-sharps who can winkle you faster than a dockside doxy and dice-games rigged to make you pay. Thieves prowl the dingy little bar, ready and willing to pick your purses clean.

The drinks aren’t half-bad, if you find you have enough coin to pay for them at the end of the night and it hasn’t been spirited away. The half-orc simply called “Clobber” serves at the beck and call of the proprietor, a nasty little halfling named Half-shield Dick. If you can’t pay, for whatever reason (like Half-shield’s robbed you) then Clobber makes sure he lives up to his name.

All and all, I’d give this one a miss.

Y1. Tour Wyrmais

The Tour Wyrmais was built in classical antiquity before the city of Miles had spread beyond the Faberlaine Walls (U7). It bears the mark of strange and exotic days, when the architecture of men was unsullied by contact with the giants and the elves, pure and strange and straight from Zesh. The Tour has powerful spells woven into it and, though it is not from porphyry stone, it remains standing five or six thousand years (sages do not agree) since its construction. Serpents and dragons crawl across its pale surface and ancient man’s cosmophilic desire to cover every inch of the tower with designs makes it difficult to look at.

Winding up through the belly of the tower is a turnpike stair that leads to the platform at its apex. There, set into the stone with bands of ancient black iron which is impervious to the passage of time or weather, stands the mouthpiece of the great horn that the tower houses.

The tower was built to call out dragonsign and warn the early men of the hill when wyrms were aflight. In those days, the threat of dragons seemed very real and indeed, ancient histories often tell of the bellowing of the Tour Wyrmais calling the city to battle.

The tower is now in the keeping of the Knight’s Watch and the only person with the authority to command the horn to be winded is the magnai paxata, Sieur Ogus Dirke. It has never sounded in my lifetime or the lifetime of even the longest-lived elf, and we may pray that it never does sound.

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