Welcome to Zorfath! Unfortunately, the town is not what it once was. In the 100 years after the ascension of Castle Pahvelorn to the overworld, the northeast, southeast, and southwest quadrants have fallen to ruins. The town itself, located in the northwest quadrant, is almost perched on the edge of the great chasm. It’s only a about a hundred paces to the Great Stairs, which leads to one of the entrances to the ruins in the pit. The abandoned parts of town are not safe; creatures from the surrounding wilderness often wander in, though they are prevented from entering the town proper by wards and the diligent town guards.
Oh, and stay away from the entrances to the old sewers. A cleric that came through town years ago sealed them all with holy power when the unquiet dead began to emerge and terrorize the town. Everyone assumes they are still trapped down there.
Here is a list of some locations that travellers like yourselves might be interested in, organized by what they provide.
Rumors, retainers, affordable lodging, and a good drink: THE GIANT’S SWORD. This is the best known tavern in Zorfath, so named for the huge rusty sword, the height of two men, thrust in the ground by the door. The blade was said to be wielded by a giant slain in the campaigns of the exiled Lord Arios.
Weapons and custom armor: BLACKSMITH’S SHOP. There’s only one, and it doesn’t really have a name, everyone just calls it the blacksmith’s shop. It is run by Master Greenscum and his crew of apprentices. Greenscum collects exotic weapons and will pay good GP for such items.
Exploration gear: THE GENERAL STORE. Pretty much what is says on the sign.
10′ poles, torches, lamps, oil, and other illuminates: take your pick of ARGOTZ LAMPMAKER & OILCRAFTER, SEVENTOOTH BLAZEWORKS, and VENDRANG’S ILLUMINATIONS. Lamp, oil, and other light-giving tools are one of the major products of Zorfath (fish, orange pottery, and green wheat being the other two major trade-goods). Any of the illumineers will pay for fire beetle glands, giant fireflies (more if alive), and several other creatures useful for light-crafting. The Zorfathian 10′ pole is used by the lamplighters and is generally fitted with a small metal hook at the business end.
Antidotes and other herbal concoctions: USETH’S APOTHECARY. Shilum the apprentice mostly manages the apothecary now, as his master Useth is gravely ill. Seeks undamaged corpses of poisonous creatures.
- Wyvern antitoxin (500 GP per dose, limited stock)
- Giant centipede antitoxin (25 GP per dose)
- Other antidotes may be available depending on supply
Selling valuable loot and buying exotic items: THRACLE’S GRAND EMPORIUM. There are always a few strange and marvelous items to be found at the Grand Emporium, though they change frequently. Thracle is probably the richest person in Zorfath, though he is rarely present, as he has Emporiums in other towns and strongholds as well, and often organizes caravans. Some people believe he pulls the real strings in Zorfath, rather than the Sheriff or Council.
Learned consultation: STRODASTIN THE SAGE. He is employed by Thracle, and has chambers somewhere in the upper stories of THE GRAND EMPORIUM. He travels frequently, and so is not always present in Zorfath.
Specialist hirelings, treasure maps, and other resources for explorers: NULHOON’S LODGE. The home of the Society for Treasure Hunters. This is not open to the public and requires an invitation.
There are also numerous bakers and fishmongers, in addition to the CENTRAL MARKET, where rations can be procured. BEGGARTOWN lies on the west edge of Zorfath, and cheap (but often unreliable) help can sometimes be found there. That poor part of town lies just inside the geomantic wards that help prevent dark creatures from overrunning the town during the night, when the powers of chaos are strongest.
- The master smith Hovandam is said to live somewhere on the downlow in Zorfath. Supposedly, he has sworn never to make another blade, but maybe you can convince him otherwise.
- Zuhar the bandit chief has a hideout somewhere nearby Zorfath, though his raids have been infrequent lately (several caravans have made successful journeys without needing to pay Zuhar’s toll). Nobody knows why.
- Villagers have been going missing recently, approximately one or two per month for the past several months.
- The last group that went into the west caves did not return. Smoke is sometimes seen coming from it.
- There is an abandoned and despoiled shrine in the southeast quadrant. When the town was still larger, it was raided by wicked soldiers and the relics were carried off. The story goes that the raiders took shelter in the exposed ruins of the great chasm to avoid pursuit, and were never seen again.
I’ve been doing something similar with my City of Bones setting: http://bonecity.blogspot.co.uk/
Hey, that’s pretty cool. I thought I was already following your City of Bones blog but it turns out I wasn’t (I must have only clicked through on some G+ links). Do you worry about overwhelming players with the amount of info? That is a lot of tour posts.
Here, I started with the question “what would an adventurer need from a starting town?” and tried to fill in the missing parts, introducing bits of the setting when it didn’t seem to get in the way (like the light-crafters and orange bricks).