Sample Gazetteer Extract – The Hollow and Broken Hills
To give purchasers a chance to see the bulk of the city guide, here is a very short extract from one district, the Hollow and Broken Hills—the Blight’s main religious district. As it contains potential spoilers for the guide (but NOT the Levee AP) please do not read the extract if you intend to play in the city itself, although, to be truthful, the sample below is a tiny fragment for a vast whole…
HBH6. The Church of Saint Almonia
An island that is a single construction; a vast cathedral swallows this stack of stone that lurches from the edges of the sea, a similarly bloated town beyond smothering a wider stack. The town appears to be on the edge of ruin; its flanks are smothered in the uncertain embrace of a forest of scaffolding.
A huge swaying rope bridge links the island to the crowded mainland.
Also known as the Beacon, this church is the oldest in the district, and closer inspection reveals that it is in a state of collapse. One whole wing of the church fell into the sea only five years ago, and an almost daily cascade falls from one part of it. Within, the church is a curiously lop-sided thing; its wings and walls and buttresses have slipped, giving the whole place an askew angle of Between. Some say that it is the hateful presence of the Borxias (area HBH24) that has laid a curse upon the place and caused its demise.
Worship here is certainly a matter of faith; aisles are riven with shafts that plummet into the dark sea, transepts cling to the edges of breaking cliffs and distended naves grip on for dear life. The Sacred Brotherhood of Saint Almonia are charged with the upkeep of the church. The monks, devout worshippers of Mother Grace, are an arm of his Holinesses’ fighting wing, and are warriors without fear. Sometimes called the monks in iron skins, the brotherhood spend almost all their time now constructing and repairing, and have fallen into sin, brought on by their neighbours the Borxias. Outwardly, the monks and church are devout; their devotion to their collapsing home an article of faith and admiration, but below, after dark, sinning is embraced. A Cathedral of the Great Coven, the elemental bowels of the church are opened up to depraved orgies, summonation and sacrifice.
The present master, High Priest his most Sacred Devotion Earl of the Isle Hassop Brome (LE male human cleric of Mother Grace 7/diabolist 4) bastard child of Ambrogio Borxia (see area HBH24) is considered one of the most holy people of the city, and yet festers within the Great Coven; this church one of its strongholds. Part fortress, part living hellish thing, the lower reaches of the church-house a devil-bloated awakened sailing vessel the Retribution, and a foul library containing infamous texts, unheard of spells that enslave and punish, and devil-bound creatures.
HBH7. Saint Lether’s Chapel
A gigantic natural arch clefts this island, which like others is carved into a towering cathedral. Ships pass below the archway, ringing their bells.
The Mariner’s Fortune, Saint Lether—patron saint of calm seas—has his chapel here. The vast rambling building is only manned by a skeleton staff now, led by Bishop Thresh (NG male human cleric of Brine 6). Ships that are able pass through the archway to receive blessings for their voyage and—so far—not a single vessel that has passed below the arch has been lost at sea.
Thresh is a curiously bookish character; fascinated by demonology and devil-worship, but purely from a confrontational viewpoint. Those invited across the rickety rope bridge that links to the mainland find a place oddly crammed with arcanum and grimoires. Thresh frequently tries to draw devils and demons into the building to question them, and has—through a number of secrets—been able to enslave a handful of demons to act as assistants in his research.
HBH8. The Tower of Heaven
A vast, almost mockingly tall structure slowly rises from this isle into the looming sky above. It is a supplication to the glory of Heaven, a growing tower that rises towards the sky above and pierces it.
Justice Weld Shortstone I – Master of Structures (NG male gnome fighter4/illusionist 5) is presently overseeing the construction of this holy building, a place seen by his Holiness in dreams as a stair to get closer to Heaven. An army of arcane engineers are working on the structure through calamity and disappointment. The whole structure collapsed during a storm six years ago and the story whispered about the city is that the place is doomed, but that his Holiness will not give up his vision for fear of injuring his reputation. So Shortstone toils, and uses his lofty vantage and location to feed information back to his true sponsor, Princess Rebecca, who has several agents across the city state within the city-state but regards Shortstone as one of her most loyal. To keep his tenuous position, Shortstone ensures that rumours of his cruelty and vengefulness reach the right ears, despite his honesty, and his true cruelty when dealing with evil and wickedness is cold.
Convicts work on the fractious outer scaffolds of the place, which currently stands at almost nine-hundred feet. That Shorstone treats those in his care relatively well may be his undoing; his nature has been noted by many, and word and lies are spreading about his instability and the fact that he is deliberately failing to weaken his Holiness. The convicts work high on the structure and as they rise, a small township rises with them.
Within the convicts, a small group of briny, agents of the Madness of the Mirrorstorm, are implanting glyph-carcasses within the structure at arcane points; aiming to use the completed structure as a beacon to draw in a whirlwind storm-land plagued by kraken into the world.
HBH9. The Palace of the Holy
Here truly is a garden of paradise, an isle infested with statues and flowers and twisted ancient trees.
His Holiness’ sanctuary within the city-state, the Palace is a series of gardens and chambers linked across fabulous grounds. That his holiness does not invite visitors here—nor have any of his predecessors—has of course led to rife speculation about what is here. Wilder stories suggest that within the palace is a book which outlines all events in history—including those yet to come until the world is destroyed by fire. Some have conjectured that the devil himself is imprisoned in the bowels of the palace and merely seeing him would be enough to drive any lesser mortal mad.
A singular watch guard the palace—the Sanctum Paladinhood. These holy warriors are led by Sanctum Paladin Lord Grace (NE male human fighter5/aristocrat3/necromancer 4) who has spent the last years trying to gain access to and locate the secret chambers below. He is aware that somewhere below lurks a cyst within which are objects of incredible value and power, yet his cunning has not even come close to finding them. His followers, who number two score of fighter/wizards (all around level 8 in total).
There are indeed secrets within the palace, hidden behind countless secret doors and corridors is a holy treasury for the darkest and most powerfully wicked knowledge, including at its dark heart a copy of the Book of the Damned and the Song of Extinction (Pathfinder Campaign Setting—Artefacts and Legends). Within the secret hoard are several minor artefacts and objects taken from Between.
HBH10. The Penance
The screams echo far from this tor which thrusts from the dark sea. This is a prison—of that there is no doubt. A thousand barred windows stare helplessly from the dark granite, whilst two fortresses bear sturdy iron bridges away from the place.
Welcome to the holy prison—gods help you is the welcome prisoners receive when they are thrown into this open hell-hole. Those who are brought here are thrown into the township that blights the tor it is swallowed by; a lawless endless misery from which there is no escape. Some say that occasionally a doorway opens into the Furnace, and so desperate are the interred that they walk openly into that hell to escape this one. Grand Warden Briar (LE tormentor devil evoker 7) (see The Tome of Horrors Complete 201) rarely bothers to wear his human skin these days—unless his Holiness sends an emissary to question one of his brethren, that is. Briar is the consummate psychopath, and his questioning techniques are much prized by the more powerful and better contacted villains across the city; it is said that Briar can make anyone or anything talk, and talk long and loud and truthfully. To assist him, he engages a small cabal of amaimons (The Tome of Horrors Complete 194) and a harem of sublimely vicious lilins (The Tome of Horrors Complete 199) whose dark arts of drugging and poisoning have their roots in Little Xi’en’s apothecaries.
Two thousand is the average population of the Penance, but it changes daily; sometimes it swells after a purge, at other times sickness sweeps the place and its population falls to a few hundred. The prisoners are not fed or watered, and rely upon gifts from desperate relatives, or occasional slops from his Holiness. Tourists are actively encouraged, and various guides lead parties of curious or voyeuristic nobles, many of whom bring food to toss to the prisoners for amusement. A desperate disorder has blossomed into some sense within the place, and the current overlord of the prisoners, the terrible Mister Shingle (N male human rogue 7/commoner 3) rules the roost with the help of hand-picked thugs. Shingle lives a life totally detached from the prisoners, has his own tower and private chambers, and listens to songbirds singing whilst eating in luxury. Shingle is the Guild’s man on the inside, and is completely open and known to Briar, who accepts bribes from the Guild in exchange for turning the other cheek and allowing Shingle to question and investigate the prisoners at his leisure. Quite often certain facets of the Guild find a visit to the Penance very useful in loosening tongues.
- N small town
- Corruption +4; Crime +5; Economy -3; Law -7; Lore +0; Society -4
- Qualities Notorious, Tourist Attraction
- Disadvantage Anarchy (leader accepted but disinterested)
- Danger 40
- Government Autocracy
- Population 2,000 (1,900 human, 50 gnomes, 50 others)
- Notable NPCs
- Mister Shingle (N male human rogue 7/commoner 3)
- Pastor Heddlin, holy man of the Penance (NE male human rogue 4/cleric of Brine 1)
- Mistress Saddle, Queen of the Penance Whores (N female human urban ranger 2/rogue 3)
- Base Value 1,200gp; Purchase Limit 7,500gp; Spellcasting 3rd
- Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items divine scroll of dictum, iron bands of binding, medallion of thoughts, +2 wounding scourge