Friday, May 29, 2015

Titles for Galaxy Sprawling Polities

Star Trek has the "United Federation of Planets"; Star Wars "The Galactic Republic" and "The  Galactic Empire". There is Starship Troopers "Terran Federation", and the separate one of H. Beam Pipers Terro-Human Future History. And so on. What is the name of the star spanning polity in your sci-fi campaign? I came up with the following table to help generate ideas up with names in my own on again / off again home brew Traveller campaign. Roll some dice, combine the results, and see what inspiration arises. Some ideas for structuring the titles:

A of C + B (ex: Federation of Affiliated Domains)

A of B (ex: Empire of Worlds)

C + A of B (ex: Allied Commonwealth of Republics)

And then mangle to suit.



A
B
C
1
Union
Worlds
Independent
2
Commonwealth
Planets
Galactic
3
Federation
Systems
Universal
4
Alliance
Governments
Allied
5
Confederacy
Politics
Confederate
6
League
Republics
United
7
Syndicate
Realms
Free
8
Coalition
Domains
Affiliated
9
League

Self-Governing
10
Bloc

Stellar
11
Assembly

Celestial
12
Unity

Grand
13
Federacy


14
Autarchy


15
Congress


16
Partnership


17
Sodality


18
Community


19
Empire


20
Continuity


Westmist Session #98 - Stealing from the Slugmen

Kern and Erijay went back to the Foreign District to rest and plan their next moves. Kern was keen to find a way to defeat the aspects of Yg and save Westmist; or whatever was left of it. So next morning the pair presented themselves at the gate and requested the presence of their minder. "Perfect Spreading of Merit". When the official appeared, Kern and Erijay requested that they bring him to an archivist who specialized in religions and cults of the Old Imperium. It took some time ("such a pointless and obscure topic, as all know there are no gods"), but "Perfect Spreading of Merit" led them through the maze-like city to another domed building and led them inside to consult with the human head archivist. He took their request to his slugman master, and reappeared shortly with a shocked look on his face; his master, the great slugman archivist Toi!ko, wished to meet the requesters! This was nearly unprecedented, and the assistant archivist advised the party to be very careful to not look directly at or speak to Toi !lo or the consequences could be devastating.

Properly chastised, Kern and Erijay are led into the inner rooms of the archive to meet the slug man. They looked at their feet as the creature sized them up. Toi!ko then spoke to the assistant archivist in a weird clicking and croaking language. Sparing a glance at their minder, they saw a horrified look spreading across "Perfect Spreading of Merit"'s face, while the assistant archivist has gone white as the snow. Interview over, the duo are led back to the lobby, where the assistant archivist tells them what Toi!ko had to say. The slug-man is quite happy to assist the pair. To do so he requires a set of books currently held by one of his rivals, one who dabbles in similar matters, but refuses to share the books with the expert and mighty Toi !lo! If Kern and Erijay recover those volumes for him, he will gladly answer their questions. Such a crime is apparently an offense against all that is good and right and harmonious, but neither the assistant archivist nor their minder feels able to say ‘no’ to one of the slug-men. Kern wondered what "Perfect Spreading of Merit" would do; turn them in to the authorities, abandon them, or what? It appeared, however, that whatever he thought of the matter, he was honor bound and obligated to continue to be their guide. That clarified, the duo had "Perfect Spreading of Merit" to guide them to the rival slug-man archive so they can scout. They find a stone, domed building, very similar in layout to the other archives they have visited. Walking around, they peered in a few windows and got an idea of the layout of the building, locating two possible locations for the books at opposite ends of the archive. Erijay cast detect magic and noted some kind of magic barrier or alarm blocking entrance into one of the rooms. In the other the blinds were closed so nothing could be seen.

https://recycledreadsaustin.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/rr-collectibles-2011-10-27-31.jpg
Heading back to the Foreign District, they made a few stops along the way to shop for potions of healing, check out some of the gear lifted from Jax, and buy some star sapphires and rubies in case they need to make a fast exit back through the gate. They made arrangements to meet the now terrified "Perfect Spreading of Merit" in the morning to go and take care of the book break and enter. First stopping at a philosophical society to get a silence 15' radius cast, they headed to the archive. Erijay loaded up with detect invisible, detect magic, locate object, fly and the silence spell. While Kern distracted the assistant archivist with nonsense questions, Erijay flew about looking for the books. Her locate object guided her to the room they could not see in the day before. Hovering carefully in the door, the elf saw the books high on one shelf. She unfortunately also saw the slugman settled in study just below them. She waited for him to leave, but the creature never stirred. Spells about to expire, Erijay left the building, tapped Kern on the shoulder as she drifted pass, and all headed back to the Foreign District to rest up and memorize spells for another attempt.

They waited several days before heading back to try again, just to ensure they did not arouse suspicion. They repeated their plan of the previous attempt, and this time Erijay was relieved to find the slugman absent from the room. As she approached the books, however, two of a trio of statues standing along the way animated and headed in her direction. They could not reach the flying elf, who was well above them getting the books of the shelf. The activity did attract some of the human servants of the slugman, but they did not detect the magically shielded elf. She escaped with the prize, and after meeting up again with Kern and "Perfect Spreading of Merit", they brought the books to Toi !lo to trade them for information.

Far Isles Session #1 - Urchins of Death

Following rumors of great wealth to be found in the newly revealed Far Isles, a motley assortment of would be explorers and adventurers assembled on the Fogbound Quays in the city of Xin; Orm the aquamancer, Azimer the calmonari, Casper the midget vivimancer (riding on the shoulders of his henchman, Conch the calmonari), Gormus the specialist/thief (with Vilius the cleric) and Fiona the musketeer. After a look around to get their bearings, Gormus suggested heading for the biggest ship they could see and look for work. This they did, moving down the dock toward a black vessel with red sails called "The Serpents Revenge". It was still early morning and few were out and about, but Casper was elected to call out to one of the sailors on deck and see if there was any work to be had. Once the sailor figured out they were looking for work as adventurers, not sailors, he headed off to find the captain. He proved to be a big man, Thorgrim the Fat; over 6 feet tall, built like a barrel, and dressed in the flashiest of clothing. Yes, said Throgrim, he was indeed headed out to the Far Isles and in need of a replacement landing crew. He invited the party aboard, but refused to disclose his destination until they agreed on terms and the party had been hired. Thorgrim didn't want them refusing his offer and then jumping ship with top secret information. After some back and forth, they settled on a 60/40 split of treasure between the ship and the party, and the understanding they might all have to sail the ship for him if he didn't make enough gold to pay his crew!

http://mixstory.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Female-Pirates-Lady-Pirate-The-Lioness-Of-Brittany-Black-Fleet-2.jpg
Thorgrim explained that on his previous (and first) trip out, he'd discovered a ring of small rocky islets, like the rim of an old volcano or crater. In one they'd found a large sea cave, so he sent his landing crew in to check it out. No one came back, except for the party's magic user, who floated out to the ship the next day. Obviously drowned, but clutching two fists full of gold and silver coin. So there's treasure in there; the party will just have to better than the last group if they want it.

Deal struck, Thorgrim finished repair and resupply of "The Serpents Revenge", and weighed anchor the next morning to sail for "The Anchorage". This was a small island with a sheltered cove where the exploring ships tended to gather and use as a home base. There they could go about their work without going back to the mainland and dealing with customs officials, greedy rulers, lawmen and others who might put a crimp on the exploring and plundering business. Three days of fair wind and they arrived at the small island, to find two other exploration vessels ("Divine Providence" and "Pearl of Heaven") and a pair of merchants at anchor. Quizzing Thorgrim, the party found out the island is pretty much deserted except for Bellaphrone the Incantatrix [a creepy witch who lived in the woods behind the beach, and had been on the island when the first ships arrived] and Nilex of Velas [a whiskey priest currently passed out beneath a pine tree on the strand]. There was some interest in visiting the merchants and Bellaphrone, but a check of coin purses revealed a need for gold. So at Throgrim’s suggestion, they stayed the night and then shipped out for the caves.

The rocky ring proved to be just a day's sail away, roughly south. Thorgrim guided "The Serpents Revenge" around the perimeter the ring until he reached the southernmost isles, then sailed inside the rocks and dropped anchor. He pointed out a small shingle beach, over which loomed the cave entrance. "There it is. Get at it" he said, and called for the jolly boat to be lowered and the party transshipped to the beach. Shortly, they were standing on the narrow strip on shingle; torches and gun matches were lit and the party formed up to enter the cave. A short distance through a tunnel lead into a large cave of rough black stone with wet shingle covering the floor. Keeping to the wall, they circled the room, discovering three other exits along the way. Heading into the middle of the room, the party found numerous small tide pools filled with crabs, starfish, and other sea life. Which prompted a check for the high water mark, thankfully found only a few inches above floor level.

https://wallwidehd.com/rocky-island-in-the-ocean-wallpaper/
While most of the party played around in the tide pools, Gormus was shocked to see an odd figure emerge from the nearest tunnel. A creature with the body of a man, naked and cut up badly, with a large starfish in place of his head. At Gormus’ shout, everyone turned to face the visitor, whose starfish head now turned its arms towards the party, seemingly ‘looking’ at them. Conch and Azimer used their aquatic telepathy to send impressions of peace and ‘we mean no harm’, then tried speaking to the creature in both Common and Calmonari. Neither of which the creature seemed to understand, but it now decided it did not like these intruders and made moves to rush the party. Orm, Fiona, and Gormus fired their pistols and muskets in a blast of fire, smoke and deafening noise, but only Orm’s pistol shot connected. Conch used an old fashioned crossbow and also scored a hit, while Azimer’s javelin went wide. This onslaught caused the thing the reel back down the tunnel, only to be finished off by another of Azmiers’ javelins. Orm and Azimer went over to examine the body, and the aquamancer performed a quick dissection to see what the thing looked like inside. It proved to be all man from the neck down, and starfish above. Very curious.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hgnNIzuzD1k/UJP0qu108II/AAAAAAAAClA/RqGM3F5bZdw/s1600/Squid,+mouth,+teeth.jpg
Stepping over the body, the party formed up again to see from whence it came. The tunnel lead roughly south and Fiona noted almost at once that they were starting to descend. This caused some anxious moments as they observed the line of slime and scummy rock that marked the tide line rising higher and higher on the wall of the tunnel.  They relaxed a little when it seemed to level out at about the 2 foot mark. The tunnel soon dumped them in another chamber, this one notable mostly for the mess of invertebrates (starfish, sea cucumbers, sea slugs and worms) flopping and squirming across the shingle. This chamber, like the last, had three more exits, all roughly at cardinal points of the compass. Checking the southern exit, the party found it ended abruptly at the edge of a chasm, which was wide at this point but narrowed to a small crack to the left and right. Azmier dropped a stone to see if there was water below, but the sound of rock on rock came back after an estimated fall of 50-80 feet.

Still worried about being trapped by the tide, the party decided to look for dryer ground. Checking the eastern exit, they entered another chamber. This one was occupied, by seated circle of little rubbery looking humanoids with conical shells on their backs. Azimer and Conch again sent out their telepathic ‘good vibrations’, and several of the little men turned to look at them with large black eyes.  The party could now see the shell-men were smashing open shellfish with crude stone and driftwood tools, that being the only thing they appeared to have apart from some sort of harness woven out of kelp and seaweed. The little men seemed unconcerned with the party’s presence, and went back to smashing and eating. Orm, Azimer, and Casper/Conch decided to carefully circle around the group to see what was at the other end of the chamber; Fiona, Gormus and Vilius stayed to guard the rear. At the other end of the chamber were two more exits, leading north and south. The south one narrowed, and just as the quartet was discussing whether they should enter, a trio of the little shell-men wandered out, glanced at them, and then passed by the join their compatriots in the circle. Figuring they would find nothing but more shell-men, the four rejoined the rearguard. After some discussion, the party decided to backtrack to the entry chamber to explore the other exits rather than risk getting trapped deep in the cave by the tide. They did explore one addition chamber on the way back, empty but for a odd phenomena. Fiona discovered anything she said would echo back in some strange, unknown tongue. The other tried it out as well (Gormus singing a raunchy sea ditty), and discovered their words repeated in what seemed to be the same strange language. Fiona did a loop of the room, looking for anything unusual in or on the walls which could explain the echo, but found nothing.

Backtracking to the entry chamber, the party chose the largest opening in the east wall, which led into a strange almost star shaped chamber. The floor here was covered in black sand, which made Orm nervous. So he and Azimer went back to haul the body of the starfish-man down to the chamber and pitched it into the room, suspecting a trap. But nothing happened, so in the party headed.  Some geological cataclysm in the past had left long fissures in the rock. In several of these the part found evidence of old campfires, most many years old, but one more recent (in the last few weeks). Vilius found a long dead skeleton in one, its skull smashed against the rock, while in another Azmier discovered a newly dug hole with rotten leather sacks and a few coppers scattered around it (which she pocketed). Done in this room, the party headed further into the caves, leaving via a tunnel on the western wall. It suddenly descended sharply, and Vilius slipped on the slick sand and went flying off into the darkness before coming to a bloody and painful stop against a rough rock wall. The grumbling cleric climbed back up the slope to the rest of the party. Who now followed his path much more carefully into another large room. Little distinguished his room, apart from more black sand and a scattering of larger bones, both aquatic and mammalian.
http://www.tsandm.com/pugetsound/13607450.jpg
Pushing on, they headed south down a long tunnel (and explored a dead end branch, where Orm searched for secret doors, but found nothing) before finally entering another room with a black sand floor. This room was also occupied, by five large sea urchins clustered around and on top of something on the floor. Orm walked over to have a closer look, and used his trident to try pushing some of the critters out of the way. They didn’t like that, and a volley of urchin needles followed. Orm was hit and wisely backed away, and the rest of the party one more responded with gunfire and other missile weapons. Alas, few hits were scored, and another volley of needles dropped Orm, dying, to the floor. Fiona and Gormus were also scratched by needles, and promptly feel into a deep slumber. Vilius rushed over to cast a cure spell on Orm to bring him back from deaths door. Azimer and Casper/Conch turned their attention on the urchins. Capser summoned a spore cloud which incapacitated three of the urchins, while Azmier caught one in her throwing net.  The last one retreated down another tunnel, leaving the remaining four to be butchered by the victors. Gormus, now awake, cut one open and inside found a small black pearl-like gem. Which led to a flurry of additional cutting and pearl collection from the other three. They also now saw that the urchin had been clustered over a dead human body, relatively fresh and dressed as an adventurer. The party also noted a pool of fresh water in one corner, from which the very weak Orm drank in the hopes of it being some mystical cure. Alas, it was just cool fresh water.

Deciding to not push their luck any further, and with at least some treasure to show for their efforts, the party picked up the dead adventurer and headed back to the beach. Signaling the ship, the jolly boat soon approached and the expedition was soon back on board “The Serpents Revenge”. There Throgrim identified the body as one of the previous landing crew, and praised the party for recovering some treasure. But when will they be going back for more?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Westmist Session #96 - Oops!

While the most of the party (Erijay, Jasper, Lomar [and Guy]) bought time engaging in back and forth negotiation with Lord Merdwyn, Kern quietly started to move everyone over to the round circular stone in the floor. He figured it was an elevator, and that operating it required touching the snake sword to the surface of the stone. When everyone reached the stone (including Bjorn's body), Erijay touched the stone with the sword. It began to rumble and shake, and indeed did rise into the air. But it stopped after only 15' or so, and then began to vibrate more and more, before finally cracking into pieces and falling to the floor. Everyone fell with it, luckily avoiding the hole that had been uncovered by the now displaced black stone. Thin tendrils of mist rose from the pit, and then a loud hiss could be heard. Moments later, a massive tentacled snake head emerged, easily 20' across. The party instantly recognized this as one of the aspects of Yg, and wisely took off running towards the rat tunnels when the head turned to face them. Erijay turned briefly, wielding her snake sword, and commanding the beast to stop. "Who are you to command me to stop, mortal fool!" came the reply, which was enough to get the elf running after the rest of the party.
http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_medium/10/106058/1977637-ophidia_by_tahra__001__01_.png

Crawling into the tunnels, the party could hear the massive snake following them. It was much too large to get into the tunnels after them, but as they moved deeper, they could now hear and feel the massive beast slamming into the wall behind them, trying to break in. This continued for some time, and then suddenly stopped. After waiting a little longer to make sure it was gone, Erijay cast clairvoyance and sent her remaining meerkat out to have a look. The snake was gone, but now a more distant pounding could be heard. The meerkat went back to the dome, and observed that the Yg-snake had crawled up one of the statues and was proceeding to batter it's way through the top of the dome. The meerkat slipped forward to look into the hole the snake had emerged from, but the beast sensed it and quickly swung down to snap at the little critter. Which luckily was able to scuttle away and back to it's mistress.

The party decided to wait until the snake finished it's work, and after some time they heard a massive crash followed by distant screams from above-ground. Assuming it was gone, they all crept back to the dome, and found the top of the dome pretty much gone. Beyond the gaping hole they could see the partially ruined remains of Westmist Keep, below which they had delved. And more screaming and shouting could be heard in the distance. "Humm" said Kern. "What do you suppose is left in the pit?" Figuring they should recover something from this fiasco, Erijay cast fly and slowly descended into the dark shaft. 200 feet down she landed on a bed of coins, thousands upon thousands of all kinds. Going up to tell the others, Kern gave her the magic chest with instructions to descend again and fill it up as fast as possible. Needing no further encouragement, Erijay did just that, and when she emerged from the pit found everyone else getting ready to climb out of this god-forsaken dungeon. The elf took one end of their cut rope, and flew up to the roof to find a spot to tie it on. While there, she cautiously flew up above the rubble and looked around. All around were the battered remains of the keep, bodies lying amidst the rubble. Looking at the path of destruction and listening to the shouts and screams, she guessed the Yg-snake was headed for the Temple of the Three Virtues.

https://marvelplotpoints.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/img_0194.png
Erijay lowered the rope and helped pull everyone up, including poor Bjorn's body. This they left in the ruins of the keep for now, and after some debate on their best course of action (try to save the town vs run like hell and save their skins), everyone agreed to head for the temple to see what if anything could be done to help. By the time they got there, the Yg-snake was in the main dome of the temple, and slaughtered clerics and laity lay all around. The party moved to attack, while Kern shouted to Lanthan the Undervirtue (The Highest Virtue having already been slain), whom he could see helping hold the line on the other side. Kern asked if there was any wondrous artifact or some such buried in the hill below the temple that might help defeat the Yg-snake. The cleric replied in the negative, but Kern decided to look anyway.

Seeing their attacks were having little or no effect on the snake, Kern summoned the rest of the party to his side, they all descended into the tunnels and cellars below the temple while the battle continued to rage above. Frantically they searched, and by luck found some curved stonework that looked exactly like the dome they'd explored below the keep. Busting it open, the party found themselves in another domed temple to Yg, pretty much identical to the first, right down to the black stone platform in the middle. Hoping there was some foe of Yg imprisoned here, Erijay touched her sword to the stone, and the party witnessed a repeat of the earlier scene. The stone rose, then shattered and fell (unfortunately, this time taking Erijay's sword into the hole with it). They waited to be saved, but were horrified to see a second aspect of Yg (the Man-Serpent), rise from the mist. It ignore the party, but crawled up the dome to smash it's way out. The party followed at a distance, and emerged into the temple to find everyone slain or fled, and the two giant snake things in the process of merging into one!

That was enough; the party decided unanimously to flee. But where? Jasper, Lomar and Guy decided to take the road east and put as many miles behind them and Westmist as possible. Kern and Erijay, on the other hand, weren't sure that was going to work. They instead argued that they use the secret gate still bricked up (hopefully) in their old cellar. The two groups could not agree, so they split their treasure and went their separate ways. As Jasper, Lomar and Guy moved out of sight, Kern and Erijay headed for their old secret tunnel. It was still there, and they entered (passing Riker's still frozen body) and made their way to the hidden chamber behind the wine cellar. There still stood the gate, bricked over as a precaution against unwanted visitors. Ten minutes work with a sledgehammer exposed it once more, and Kern frantically jammed large gems into the controls holes; 5 star rubies and a star sapphire. As the mist in the gate cleared, they could see a wet, forested scene on the other side. A sudden loud thump and screams from above make their minds up for them, and the duo headed through the gate for parts unknown ...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Westmist Session #97 - We're Not in Westmist Anymore, Toto

Stepping through the gate, Kern and Erijay found themselves under tall trees  in the centre of a ring of seven standing stones.  They were actually standing near the edge of a forest, high on a hill overlooking a city. Beyond the city lay the ocean, presumably a western ocean as the sun was sinking low in the sky, headed towards sunset.  The setting sun cast a striking glow on the city below, built as it was of red and yellow stone. The buildings were mostly square and blocky, but many were topped by golden and silver domes. Surrounded by a high wall, the city looked quite large, with a dozen different banners flying from it's towers. A large river flowed past it and entered the sea to the south. The hill on which Erijay and Kern stood was one of a forested range that followed the coast leading north from the city. Below them on the lower slopes, fields of grains and rice scattered with small villages filled the several miles between the and the city.   A road followed the river into the city, and another could be seen leading up the coast, following the line of hills.

http://www.blogcdn.com/travel.aol.co.uk/media/2012/09/cruise-burma.jpg
Deciding they needed more information, the duo slipped through the field below to get closer to the city. Finding a good spot, Kern examined the main city gate through his spyglass. There was steady traffic of carts and wagons leaving, farmers returning home after selling their wares the city.  A smaller stream of travelers were entering the city. Nearly everyone had oriental features, including the farmers, guards, and other travelers. Kern was a little troubled to see that the human guards were supplemented by a squad of hobgoblins, looking just like those they encountered in Mor. Not a comforting sign.
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/c2/77/ed/c277ed71511fb4fff914b4dfe7b68d1d.jpg

Rather then try getting into the city immediately, the two proceeded back into the forest to clean up (summoning gods and destroying towns being dirty work) and rest for the night. After an uneventful sleep, Erijay cast invisibility and Kern slipped the cowl of the cloak of elvenkind  over his head, then proceeded towards the city at first light. Reaching the gate, they watched the guards let the carts of the farmers through with nothing more than a cursory glance and quick collection of a gate tax. The human guards did all of the talking, the hobgoblins hanging back uninterested for the most part. After watching for some time to get a feel for the process, Kern and Erijay slipped invisibility in between a pair of carts and proceeded into the city. At the same time, Erijay cast ESP to see if the hobgoblins were a threat, but got nothing but typical soldierly grumblings from them. The two now found themselves on  wide boulevard. Few building could be seen, as the interior of the city was subdivided by additional walls. At some gates stood more guards, while others were apparently wide open. The carts continued on until they reached a large market square, stopping there to set up stalls for the day. The boulevard continued on, headed towards the ocean it seemed. Figuring there must be a port, the two continued on, and were rewarded by another city gate which indeed lead to the docks. A dozen ships lay alongside, and the crews were just beginning to stir for the day. Oddly, they saw no taverns or inns, just warehouses. The ships were mostly from southern ports, and Pashnadi, Zevestian and Maharhtran faces and dress predominated. There were a pair of large ships that looked to be from closer to home, somewhere in the bounds of the old Imperium, so Kern and Erijay headed in that direction. They also watched for activity at the gate, and now noticed that as the crews and captains approached, they were met by individual locals, officials of some sort based on their manner and dress. Only then did they proceed into the city.
http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/tyre/images/c/c6/6601379275_007a5d8df6_z.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140916230133
Curious, Kern looked about for a recognizable face, and found a young sailor coiling ropes next to one of the ships from the lands of the old Imperium. Signaling the elf to stay invisible (for reasons), he walked behind a stack of barrels to slip off the cowl of his cloak, and then emerged to engage to sailor in conversation. Telling the lad he'd just arrived on a Pashnadi vessel, Kern proceeded to ask him from where his ship had sailed and what he could tell about the city they found themselves in. The young sailor (Yurgen) said the ship was the Flying Light out of Talsker, a city Kern recognized as lying on the opposite shore of the Inner Sea from the Kingdom of Kellowai. Yurgen described a long voyage down the Inner Sea and past the Islands of Great Smoke, around the tip of the Comohori Jungle, and then north to their current location, the city of Kunth. As for Kunth, he explained the people were more than a little xenophobic and didn't let foreigners wander the city unless in the company of a 'minder' provided by the ruling council. Something to do with messing with the perfect harmonics of the path of indivisible light or some such foolishness. If not for the riches in rare wood, amber, 'special' mushrooms and 'red steel', it wouldn't exactly be a happy port of call. Oh, and then there are the slug men. Officially rulers of the city and surrounding lands of Kunth, the slug men were 9' tall, partially bipedal slugs. Though all humans in Kunth served the slug men, the creatures themselves were reclusive scholars uninterested in day to day life of their lands. The city was in fact ruled in their name by a council of 11 human nobles, while the slug men stayed in the myriad archives and libraries, continually expanding their knowledge  Oh and by the way, a foreigner who spoke to o a slug man could expect to be executed in a most gruesome and unpleasant fashion. They could only be approached through their human intermediates. In fact, the only place foreigners were free to do as they wish were here at the outer docks, or within the Foreign District of the city.

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Thanking the young sailor, Kern went and filled Erijay in with what he had learned.  They decided to head back into the city invisibly and check out the Foreign District. Following Yurgen's directions, they found it back near the first city gate they entered, well guarded by human and hobgoblin soldiers. Once again they slipped in, and explored. The mix of faces was similar to that seen on the docks, with lots of southerners and a scattering of demihumans and folks from the old Imperium and other lands. They found a tavern and Kern sidled in, first becoming visible. The old Zevestian behind the bar confirmed much of what Yurgen had told them. If they wanted to wander the city, they needed a minder appointed to accompanied them. There was, surprisingly, no cost associated with this service. In fact, the exchange of money for services (as opposed to purchasing goods) was frowned on in Kunth. Instead a service had to be repaid by some service in return, the exact service to be determined after the transaction had been agreed upon, Oh, and occasionally flashy gifts of jewelry or artwork might be expected. Keep your eyes and ears open for clues. The barkeep also told them that Kunth was probably the most scholarly city on the world thanks to the slug men;  if a fact or information could not be tracked down by the slimy scholars, it probably didn't exist.And in response to Kern's question about temples, the old man chuckled and told him the people of Kunth did not believe the gods exist. They instead followed a thousand different philosophical paths that to a foreigners ears sounded strange indeed.

That got Kern and Erijay thinking about everything they needed to learn. Like how to stop two inadvertently summoned aspects of a snake god from rampaging across the lands. And other minor things too. So the pair decided to head back to the docks, then become visible and requested a minder from the guards. This required a little pantomime as Common didn't appear to be very common in Kunth. In a short time, there appeared a gentleman dressed in fishscale and fur robes, who introduced himself as Sonan Chotar, or "Perfect Spreading of Merit" in the Common tongue. Erijay informed him they wished to consult with a scholar on the matter of some wyvern eggs, figuring an innocuous simple inquiry would be the best way to start. After thinking for a few moments, "Perfect Spreading of Merit" bowed and bade them follow him into the city. Leading the through several districts and gates, he brought them to a large domed building, where he said one of the great slug man scholars of reptilian and draconic knowledge could be found. Once inside, their minder relayed their request to one of the human archivists, who went off to consult his master. The archivist returned shortly, and then asked that party what service they might off in return for the knowledge they sought. Erijay offered a book on poison flowers she'd been carrying since recovering it from Stonehell. The archivist considered this for a moment, and with a bow accepted it as acceptable service. He proceeded to inform Erijay that when removed from their mothers care, all draconic eggs went dormant. And could stay that way for thousands of years, until once more given in care to a draconic mother for hatching.  Well, thought Erijay, at least they weren't going to hatch in here backpack ...