Welcome to the second post of my A to Z Challenge series for 2013. For the month of April, I will describe 26 different locations in the World of Samardan campaign setting designed to capture the feel of a world set in the Planetary Romance genre, one for each letter of the alphabet. Today, B is for the Bridge of Pulsok.
2502 Bridge of PulsokAmbiance: Pulsok is a city of of the Ancient Ones, with numerous collapsed crystalline spires and several long bridges of silvery webbing and rainbow-hued metal miles in length spanning the Blendel, the immense chasm forged by the great Tratagak River. Only one of the bridges is truly intact, although the support framework for a second bridge still exists, even if the surface has broken away in several locations. Silken webs and discarded chitinous husks give mute evidence to the swarms of insectoid creatures that dwell within the myriad of structures on both sides of the chasm.
History: At one time, a large tribe of Husrani claimed the ruins of Pulsok as their own, claiming tribute from those who would cross the Blendel on foot. Eventually, however, an infestation of predatory insects became so pervasive that the tribe left the City of Bridges behind. Now, it is considered unwise to enter the ruins during the bitter nights of Samardan, lest one becomes food for the children of the hives.
Encounters: Most of the buildings are inhabited by insectoid creatures, from gonrakkomi (cat-sized flying insectile creatures with a hard carapace and specialized glands that produce a red glow at night) to rivrakkati (large insectile creatures that spin webs as nests and traps and possess a poisonous bite). Small bands of morsudkomi (large carnivorous primates with multiple limbs and a marked preference for humanoid flesh) occupy some of the ruined structures, keeping the immediate site clear of insects for the safety of their band. Other common encounters and hazards include great webs for trapping prey, unstable construction and crude man-traps constructed by morsudkomi.
Treasure: Many of the creatures found in the ruins of Pulsok are profitable in the right market. In particular, the webs of the rivrakkati can be spun into valuable cloth, rope and other textiles. Very little ancient technology remains in Pulsok, save for items carried by travelers and adventurers who have died while in the city.
Adventure Hooks: Adventure hooks for this site could include the following:
- Among certain tribes of Husrani, morsudkomi cubs are considered pets. Tamar Geshkan the wandering merchant has standing offers for living morsudkomi cubs, in order to maintain strong trading relations with such tribes.
- Raganu Pekadevi Rekatur, the Lord-Emperor of Torkobalem, seeks a hermit by the name of Mudayatan, who is said to dwell within the ruins of the City of Bridges.
- The Rakrani sage Loba Granbura believes that there's a hidden undercity beneath the western side of Pulsok, and she wants to hire a band of mercenaries to seek out entrances to it.
- Viro Rivan, a master craftsman from Garsol, will pay heavily for the recovery of his brother-in-law, who travelled to Pulsok and never returned. Viro seeks the recovery of an specific amulet bearing the family crest if his wife's younger brother is found dead.
- Yaranu Moro, Master of Assassins for the court of Kolgrat, will pay handsomely for fresh rivrakkat poison.
Despite the "Quest for the Undercity" adventure hook, I picture the Pulsok ruins as a site for exploring buildings, not passages. In a way, it's closer to a wilderness "dungeon" than a true dungeon. As such, it focuses on the classic "ruined city" trope of Planetary Romance, which I believe helps capture some of the genre's distinctive flavor.