Survey Team 4 the Search for the Sundered Realm
Scenario 1/Setting/Vassa Rumors and Information
Rumors and information:
1. The festival marks the beginning of a new season, and the time to leave on hunting, harvesting and commercial expeditions is eminent. No one knows what year it is.
2. There are weird animals living in pens towards the harbor area; they are enslaved symbiont feeder caste termites, or ‘hogs’.
3. Citizens are warned not to stray into the Chitin Dog pits, whatever that is. If they approach, they will catch glimpses of the magnificent and powerful animals as they shift and fight below the rim of the depression. The sound of high pitched chirps and the clash of large animals fighting or in play echoes in the caverns harsh acoustics. The animals there are obviously extremely dangerous, whatever they are.
4. Seeing a crowd of children, and onlookers of all ages, the Citizens are treated to a spectacle. Construction is going on, but the workers are three huge insects. The crowd observes huge worker caste “Hivers” in Vassa metro proper, directed by a much smaller termight of the management caste. This individual is a rare “renegade” defected from the K’nakii termite clan, now employed by the slaver Bond Appa Bondi. The boss insect is richly attired in fine clothes and a plumed hat. It’s chemical markers and pheromones permit the hijacked worker caste termights to do useful work. A writing desk, scroll case, surveying tools and other instruments are near at hand. The insect is consulting with a distinguished and well-dressed Halfling, evidently an architect. Amazingly, the Halfling (Master Cyrus) is deferring to the insect! As they watch in amazement, the huge worker caste insects sculpt a large elegant, flowing structure. Built into the vast column of rock that is Vassa Metro’s backdrop, the luxury insula takes shape. If anyone stays to watch, the second story, soaring balconies and sweeping roof top decks are constructed.
5. Some of the strange vessels in the harbor are coated in crude oil.
6. The agriculture here grinds bones to bulk up compost for making new soil. There are large piles of dinosaur bones along the base of the harbor fortification.
7. Certain buildings are decorated with the bones and skulls of large predators.
8. Many of the people here are tattooed with images of their vocation: hunting scenes, prey animals, boats, agriculture, brewing, etc.
9. Hal Tenbraun has several tattoos: of a set of scales, of a lizard-bird, of the Midden Pile and of a boat. He is one of the very few whose images feature writing. He recently lost his wife.
10. There is another Halfling town, about two fortnight’s journey “over that way…” called Tantala. It’s supposed to be a big deal; real large, many boats, many people live there, much commerce is conducted. The big leagues.
13. Prevailing offshore (down cavern) winds begin around this season; permitting outbound sailing from Vassa’s harbor.
14. The coming of the unfertilized Corn Moth eggs, floating down the air currents of the upper cavern. Having built up a considerable static charge, huge electrical discharges may be seen for a time, illuminating the distant gloom of the great caverns. As the Citizens look on, they get their first good impression of the immensity of the space before them. Off into the distance, a vast sheet of water, studded with islands and wreathed in mist is revealed. To the left, a long verdant shoreline extends as far as the eye can see. From it rolling hills of grassland rise up into the gloom. Here and there the immense columns of stalactites extend down from the roof or stalagmites upward from the land, sometimes meeting in vast building sized monoliths. For the split-second the lightning illuminates, it reveals a vista of gigantic shadow, and impossible volume.
15. Many strange and wonderful goods are available in Vassa’s market place. This includes raw and worked Corn Moth silk, dyes, ceramics, odd little dolls that are used to represent slaves (the slave pens are elsewhere), and possibly exotic pets such as the immature plum spider hatchling or even an unhatched Gynelotrum egg. Rakox, trained Dendilli, oil, and slaves are traded, but generally this is not advertised.
16. In the harbor some of the Dhows/Gondolas are heavily coated with oil. Most feature a laminated ridge pole system in several variants: slingers (delivering Greek fire, or to distract or decoy large beasts meat may be flung in last resort), netter or bola launchers (optimized for particular prey), and armored (scaled) Keelboat vessels that feature a heavy weight (these are designed to transport noncombatants into the dangerous estuary area in a covered vessel, and are typically rowed).
17. Semi-tame rust monsters (or ‘pests’) infest the entire area. They aren’t aggressive, but metal implements have to be carefully stored or be swiftly consumed by the nosy beasts.
Tantala Metro a city several week’s travel into the veldt, on an arm of the estuary. The town is built into a massif, and burrowed underground, with a protected harbor built into a cavern below the cliff face. This is a jumping off point for journey to the oil place, Dhole holes, and the Midden pile area. Carved into the huge down hanging rock above is Tantala Superior, an ancient place some two thousand years old.
Vada Volterrana a city several week’s journey into the south; accessible only from the South Shore or by sea. Roughly equidistant from Vassa and Tantala Metros. The vast barrier mountain sometimes referred to as the ‘Lesser or Southern Wall’ and hundreds of kilometers of open ocean lie between the sites.
Upland/Brix a town well into the Veldt, about a week upcountry from Tantala Metro. Brix lies on the Western Route, at Monitor Pass. A stopping point for caravan trade.
The Narrows a chain of semi-habitable caverns marching off from the mouth of the Great Torrent River. This is the route is used both ways by south bound caravan traffic from Vassa. Eventually opens up into the Southern Vale region.
The Oil Place a vast depression, with ancient steps cut into the walls. Oil bubbles up and runs down one cliff face. Below, entrance to the oil caverns. Off into the Sunless Sea and the object of the Oil Trade.
The Midden pile area was the objective of the Salvage Trade. Considered too dangerous to visit.