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Places / Riddleport

Riddleport, Harbor
Riddleport, Map

At a Glance

Most of Riddleport’s buildings are composed of wood— logs or planks—with multiple floors and steep, highpeaked roofs of wooden shingles. They are built in close quarters, and in some cases their wooden upper floors sag and lean together from the constantly sodden conditions. Stone fireplaces ward off the bitter winter cold and the chill that lingers in the fog-laden streets for much of the year, save for in high summer. During this two-month period, warmer air currents from the south bring a muggy, oppressive heat along with great black mosquitoes that breed in the nearby marshes. Many burn peat treated with incense in their hearths during these months to ward off the vermin with their thick smoke.

The major streets of Riddleport are cobbled, often becoming rain-slick cataracts during the wet seasons. Cobbles are often missing or crushed by the incessant traffic, leaving gaping holes and ruts in even the most well-tended thoroughfares. Side streets tend to be relegated to muddy tracks that are swift to turn into stinking morasses of sucking mud and filth. Riddleport doesn’t have much of a sewage system, and relies mainly on gutters along street edges to carry refuse to the river and harbor.

One feature unique to the major streets are the frequent oil lamps mounted on iron poles that provide beacons of light in the benighted mists. These are set in sturdy hurricane lamps and burn thick, rancid-smelling oil from barrel-shaped reservoirs at the lamppost base—a byproduct and innovation of the Gas Works. These wavering lights give off illumination equal to a torch in even the foulest weather but are not well-tended; just over a third of them are out on any given night, in need of repairs or refueling.

City Districts

Riddleport is divided into a total of nine separate districts (although two of them, Lubbertown and the Boneyard, technically lie outside of the overlord’s jurisdiction):

Free-Coin District

Overlord Cromarcky’s three grand gamehalls are located in this part of the city along the northwestern shore of the Velashu River.

Leeward District

The city’s largest district, Leeward is built into the protecting curve of the city’s eastern ridge, where it is sheltered from the worst of the winter winds. The majority of the city’s population resides in the tall tenements of this district, and most buildings have a shop at street level where standard goods and services can be obtained.


Known derisively as Lubbertown for the fact that most of its inhabitants arrive at the city by land rather than by sea, this district is not patrolled by the gendarmes and has developed its own social order, informal system of laws, and distribution of goods and employment.

River District

This section of town runs along the banks of the Velashu River and consists primarily of shops and mills. Riddleport’s atrophied trade items are crafted in this district. The waste produced by the district’s tanners and fishmongers and the fact that many of the city’s sewage gutters converge here have earned the place the unofficial name of "Reek District."

Rotgut District

Easily the poorest section in the city proper, Rotgut also hosts the highest crime rate and the most brothels and alehouses per capita. It lies along the city’s eastern side against the ridge.

The Boneyard

This deceptively named place actually serves as the city’s dump and ship’s graveyard. Its name is derived from the many old hulks and collections of ships’ ribs that protrude from the swampy ground. The whole area is a partially flooded salt marsh that is generally 2 or 3 feet deep.

The Devil’s Fork

This small military district is nestled near the north end of the city on an island in the Velashu River. It serves above as barracks for Riddleport’s gendarmes, and below as a prison for the city’s malcontents.

Wharf District

This rough-and-tumble district lies hard on the edge of the very docks of the city and is where much of the city’s day-to-day action occurs. Nearest the docks are a series of warehouses and cheap grog houses where merchant and pirate crews alike mingle in a haze of rum-soaked blood and debauchery.

Windward District

Built on the slopes of the city’s western ridgeline, this is Riddleport’s affluent district; the buildings here are generally quite tall and its streets winding and steep. The majority of the city’s scholars and sages dwell in this windy district.

Under the Gold Goblin, Under the Harbor

B3, Wight's Pool

  • potions (3): cure moderate (CL3); mana (CL3), confers d4+2; oil of shield of faith (CL3), Gozreh KnowledgeReligion DC14

B4, Troglodytes, Gaming

B5, Troglogytes, Guardroom

B6, Midden, Refuse

Stalagmites fill this chamber, many broken away to compose a crude path though its length. A foul, fishy odor mingled with the sickly sweet of rot fills your nostrils. The floor is uneven, and ankle deep in fish scale and bloated clumps of pale fungus.
A section of cavern floor seems to move of its own volition, a mixture of fungus and chitinous material. Its cricket-like frame supports a spongy head split by a mandible flanked maw lined with needles for teeth. Its segmented exoskeleton seems stitched by fibroid almost plantlike growth.
* Fungal crawler, KnowledgeNature DC24

B7, Cavern of the Sentinels

The twisting cavern here is thick with hanging stalagtites that glitter strangely, throwing colors not natural for this depth. Crystalline veins run through them, and at junctions where formations meet, larger nodes of translucent crystal.
At the ceiling, crystalline elements within a number of stalagtites begun to glow faintly, throwing meager light in a cycle that quickly grows in speed and intensity. Other nodes along the cavern's length respond in kind. Faint lightnings ripple along the uneven stony ceiling.
* Darkland sentinel, KnowledgeArcana DC23

B8, Collapsed

The chamber here is in partial collapse, and the walls are canted and slick with sea water. The Velashu must be above. An obvious path deeper into the cavern is blocked by a larger stalagmite, crooked at its top. A trogolodyte unmoving hangs from the formation, its feet dangling above the uneven floor, a suspension made possible by the ring of smooth stone about its neck that is one with the stalagmite.
Stone Blocks from Ceiling
CR 3; mechanical; location trigger; repair reset
Atk +10 melee (4d6, stone blocks); Search DC 25; Disable Device DC 20

B9, Tunnel

The floor of the passage descends here in a series of gentle terraces. The rock here is extremely dense, preventing the passage from flooding, but nonetheless the constantly dripping water and puddles are more prevalent here, gathering in 6-inch-deep pools in places before draining into tiny cracks in the surrounding rock.
* KnowledgeDungeons, DC15 to determine depth, proximate location
Swinging Block Trap
CR 1; mechanical; touch trigger; manual reset
Atk +5 melee (4d6, stone block); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20

B10, Caphorite Chamber

The long tunnel opens to a cavern bathed in a strange orange-purple glow that seems to reduce visibility rather than increase it. The ambient light, stable behind you, diminishes before you. The glow comes from a number of large rock nodules about the room. The nodules seem to have grown from the otherwise mundane subterranean rock. The eastern portion of the chamber is occupied by a still, black pool whose surface reflects the strange light.

B11, Personal Chamber

This cave is illuminated by the strangly glowing crystals protruding from two stony outcroppings that rest on either side of a low natural shelf on the southern wall. This shelf has been converted into a bed of sorts, complete with a luxurious white fur blanket lying rumpled on it, a velvet pillow, and a platinum filigreed footchest. A pair of black boots rests beside the small ledge.
* Warded footchest, with glyph of warding with sound burst.

B12, Excavation Site

Sounds of uneven breath and claws on stone echo through the narrow tunnel. Two humanoid figures hunker down in the shadows. Their bodies are squat, unclothed and unarmored, and bulging with fat and lax muscle. Their claws cut at the stone almost reflexively, eyes with small pupils set in fatty sockets leer your way. At their foreheads are emblazoned an arcane-seeming symbol.
* Dretches, KnowledgePlanes DC17
Caphorite crystals fill the chamber, and most remarkably, an arc of the Cyphergate spanning floor to ceiling, lending some strength to theories that is indeed a ring, a perfect circle, stretching underneath the earth. Stalagmites fill the floor and some have been cut or blasted away. The caphorite swallows and renders dim your light, and a deeper darkness hangs at the chamber's fall wall.
Your approach was swift and silent. Yet, at your breast is a dull red light, three points forming a triangle. They move as you move, marking your heart.
No doubt there stands before you an elf. Her form is long and her bearing regal. Dark armor, the stuff of fine chain and ring, gothic spaulders and vambraces, fits her frame like sheathe to dagger. Across her lower back are sheathed two short swords.
She holds what might be described as a crossbow with elongated stock and curved cartridge at its top. A caphorite gem collects and throws light from a long cylinder mounted at its underside. Yet, unlike elves of the wood, her skin is black, her hair ashen, and her pupils white but utterly devoid of light.

Climbing Cyphergate

  • 700' diameter
  • 2199' arc length
  • 35' width
  • 550' base to apex

Climb DC10 first 140'
requires 2 hands, no Dex, no shield
catch yourself: DC10+20
catch other: melee touch, DC10+10

last modified at November 24, 2010, at 08:03 PM by tone

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