While Alza’um secludes itself in secrecy, the land is still quite populous. While the population is predominantly made of humans, gnomes, dwarves and even ratfolk; it’s still bristling with its own unique vibrancy and charm. Much like the machines that operate on clockwork, so do the denizens. Life is a chaotic schedule balanced under the facade of order. This insular technical revolution is made under the assumption that the outside world isn’t ready, but they’re more than enlightened. Whether this is truth or unaware foolishness hasn’t been determined yet. Either way, strange adventures and even stranger locals await those granted the proper access.
Author’s Note: It’s a pun! But seriously, I felt like I was leaving out a lot of goodies. At some point, I’ll want to flesh this out for say an OGL product or something, once I can get help with maps, layout and artists eventually. In the meantime, here are some underground dwellers of this outlandish city of high magical technologies. Of course, many can be repurposed for more steampunk oriented games.
Welcome. Please, step into the elevator chamber at the end of the hallway.
Alza’um, the true city beneath the smoke and mirrors. Life is far more controlled than in the port city of mysteries and merchants. However, that doesn’t make life any easier. Only the lucky and the blessed get their way in, without tricky maneuvering. Stowaways and thieves don’t make out too well. For those who make it? It’s a long way down the ladder and back up. Life in the city is a climb towards excellence. Of course, too many refuse to let others into their station.
In the beginning, a large caravan of outcasts, tinkerers, mages and artificers came together with a common goal. They wished to craft and hone their abilities in peace, trading and sharing knowledge within their enclave. For a while, it was a place of common ground and unity. Racial differences of these sages and inventors mattered little, but rather their devotion to their creations and the quality of their work. An ideal lead to a city, which fled underground after conflict with the outside world. This racial harmony ideal lasted… until the denizens of the darkness below found themselves in inevitable conflict with the city dwellers.
Author’s Note: Part 2 continues with the namesake city! In addition, I might make some extra crunch bits soon too. Needless to say, I’m having tons of fun with this.
Return to the dark mirror that is Returned Blackmoor! While issues remain in more populated lands, an ancient conspiracy has been unearthed in a zone far detached from prying eyes. The Cootsbane Dam, a derelict turned military grounds, has had rumors of weird activity and stranger trespassers. Investigate into the dark secrets and keep them from being unleashed upon the world at large!
Check out the current issue and “The Egg Be Dammed” Here!
Author’s Note: I wrote an edition neutral adventure for Threshold Mystara. Admittedly, this was because I didn’t know what version of the game to tackle and Threshold tends to focus more so on BECMI, which I don’t have too much exposure to (outside of reading setting information of The Known World and beyond.) I might update things for 5E or AD&D, maybe ask for a hand with BECMI for the next issue.
Just a normal colony, nothing to see here…
Bashar. It’s a city of splendors! A glowing beacon amidst sloshing sea and dead desert. Beyond it? A wasteland riddled with pillaged tombs, booby traps and a rare village or two. Those who do make the voyage are treated to a gathering place of delights and fancies. The bazaar attracts and sells some of the finest wares in the world, as well as domestic items beyond words. It is here that new forms of magic have been unveiled as well as incredible forms of technology dubbed “magitech”.
However, life in this metropolitan hub is not what it seems. While a paradise for the discerning buyer or the exotic seller, a sinister shadow is caste upon those who live within the dusty streets and winding alleyways beyond the market. Few care or look out for each other. While backstabbing is rarely literal, there isn’t much trust between neighbors. Help is looked upon with a sense of dishonor and ascension up the social ladder is rife with self-sacrifice or betrayal.
Your ship is closing in fast to the docks ahead. Greetings traveler, welcome to the Bazaars of Bashar!
Author’s Note: I’m back at trying my hand at world building once more! And like always, I bend things away from typical pseudo-euro high fantasy and towards other genres and ideas. I’ve always been fascinated with massive urban hubs, even in fantasy fiction. One of the earlier cases of this was the setting of many Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, which provided a level of inspiration. Beyond Lankhmar, Planescape’s Sigil, Conan the Barbarian, Arabian Nights and Magic the Gather’s Ravnica have proved to be fair resources for ideas. Anyway, this is what I have so far! Enjoy!
I just wanted to give a shout out to Natalie, Carolyn, Aaron and Kurt! In addition, a thanks to marvl101, whose been a long time fan on WordPress as well as collaborator with a variety of awesome ideas.
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