Westlaws 2.0 - The Devouring
Center of House Outsider's Power
Slaveport is, above all else, a minor trade community, perched on the edge of drow influence in the Underdark. Once a valuable dwarven trade fort along the Vistula, or “Blood River”, it has been sacked by orcs in service to their illithid masters, then put to the torch and abandoned. About three or four hundred years ago, the site came to the attention of the Earth Dragon Cult, and they converted it into a center for their slave trade efforts with the Overworld.
Recently, that slave ring was broken and their contacts on the surface slaughtered by adventurers, who soon tracked the slaver agents to Slaveport and sacked their fortress of The Serpent Hold.
The local community still sees the town as little more than a supply way-station, though efforts are being made to improve the local economy and raise the sunburst banner of House Outsider’s interests in trade, war and exploration.
There are several factions still present in the community; * Dawn Rock Clan holds considerable sway, mining the nearby Battle Caves and residing within the upper levels of Serpent Hold; the market commoners maintain much of the existing trade; the local Duergar farmers supply most of the community’s foodstocks and general materials. The Viper’s Crown once held sway in the community, but their slaughter at the hands of the PCs has put a stop to that idea. Also, the eradication of the Gnolls of the Eye, has thrown the region around the town into a flux, especially since the removal of their patron, The Great Eye.
In recent weeks, House Outsider has begun to harness the goblin workforce of the community, and using their contact of “Skabris”, a goblin of unusually intelligent means, they now employ a large number of the creatures for various tasks (cleaning, rowers on their keelboat, among others). It is becoming apparent, that there are many of the filthy little creatures, and that they dwell somewhere nearby along with a fair-sized population.
A tattered dwarven outpost taken-over by drow and duergar. Now something of a market community, it lies on the edge of the Underdark’s civilized territory, offering safe lodgings, food and (more importantly) information about the deeper portions of the Underdark beyond…
The community of Slaveport has been seized under the control of * House Outsider, the pseudo-name the PCs have adopted to identify their group. The local merchants have bowed their knees to the PCs and it is believed the local Duergar farmers will likely do so as well in time. In addition to “controlling” the slave trade in Slaveport, the PCs have begun taking control of the local cloth trade, through their new “agents”, * House Morcane. Although rarely in residence for a long period of time, House Outsider has the * Dawn Rock Clan dependents, led by * Sontonia Ironfold to look after their interests, and generally maintain the facility.
In addition to a small market, an inn and a large water source, known as “Kuto’s Pool”, there are several ruined quarters formerly trade Houses once owned by drow merchants. One of these, also the former dwarven fortress compound, had been renovated to serve as a temple of the Earth Dragon Cult. The others are in ruins, though one was once host a tribe of gnoll mercs who cleared much of the rubble and settled-down, offering their services to any and all ( Gnolls of the Eye ), before being chased from the community by a House Outsider raid. Several dozen small duergar family clans have farmlands constructed into nearby natural caverns, supplying the raw materials used by many of the market craftsmen, including small amounts of silk, fungal timber, rothe hide and wool, and basic foodstuffs (namely sporebread and rothe meat). In general, they seek only to be left alone, but are hard-working and band together if their livelihood is threatened.
In addition, rumors persist of a nearby clan of dwarves, known as the Stonebreaker Clan, that has recently moved into the area and have built a small mine settlement “Stonebreaker Mine”. Their representative, Khram Stonebreaker, is seen sometimes visiting the market, hauling high-grade metal work, crafted jewellery, sword hilts and other decorative pieces as well as raw coal to market for foodstuffs and cloth.
The bright spot in Slaveport remains “The Dark Man”, formerly a keep perched over the lake waterfront and small trade docks, and the center of its social life for decades. A finely appointed tavern and inn, it provides limited stables and common rooms, but service is good and no one breaks the neutrality of the location, as it ensures everyone can rest in peace from the terrors of the Underdark. One regular patron, a dwarven rat catcher known as “Moctallen” is a fount of information on the local region… if the price is right. Sometimes, duergar mercenary troops offer their services here, though their ultimate loyalties remain questionable.
Kuto’s Pool is a fresh-water cistern located in the heart of the old fort. A mixed group of humanoids have taken over the area, using it as a base for raiding and scavenging the surrounding ruins. The site is something of a neutral territory and is under the protection of the local “Merchant’s Guild”. Access to the pool itself is allowed for taking a drink, but there is a charge of 1 cp per cask of water (4 gallons) taken for watering mounts or crafting purposes, by non-guild members.
The area around the Pool is typical, mostly intact buildings reserved for merchants and various important shops and traders, Small and calm, the pool itself is surrounded by stone pillars, and is carved from living stone, with the face of a grimacing dwarven warrior spilling its water into the open pool, via a waterfall from its open mouth. It is said to be the face of Kuto himself, the fountain’s carver.
A rag-tag collection of stalls, huts and hastily-built shelters sprawls across the area around the pool. This is “The Bazaar”, teeming with life and energy. Everywhere you look, people are talking, arguing, and bargaining. Wonderful aromas and colors can be seen, the obvious fast-beating every-day heart of the colony. Unless otherwise noted, merchants and craftsmen here are drow. All merchants live within their hut/stall/tent, and use it as a workshop with appropriate tools and work space. Open theft from these places is viewed as punishable by death.
The many colorful visitors to the Pool, notably includes Rikar the Seer, often referred to as “The Bull Man”. Rumored to be both a scholar interested in history, aracana and politics, he is also something of a powerful wizard or sorcerer, able to use fire and frost magicks to great effect when forced to. He would rather talk and discuss matters far more than having to gore and stamp enemies under his hooves while they burn…
The Ratholes : People who take up residence in Slaveport often live in these side chambers burrowed from the living walls. Each is a cramped carved hall sealed by a single stone door. Most occupants are a mix of drow and duergar common laborers with few possessions or coin, seeking work and status with the growing power of the trade center and its fortress, Serpent Hold. Dozens of these small havens exist, also situated along the tunnels leading to and from the market town for about 100’, but rarely any deeper into the Underdark.
Serpent Hold : The former dwarven fort has been captured by House Outsider, its resident Serpent Cult broken and its orcish mercenary troops scattered. Plans include turning it into a trade fort and the recent move of the Dawn Rock dependents into the fort have improved these chances. While House Outsider keeps the lowest chambers to themselves, and holds “court” in the main hall, the remainder of the hold is granted to the Dawnrock Clan. They have turned the upper levels and outer wards into a small fortress, staffed by a growing number of their clan’s warriors, craftsmen and dependents. It is possibly the most powerful symbol of House Outsider’s control in the region; an efficient dwarven hold reclaimed from its sinister past.
Firebrand Hall : Firebrand Hall is the present holding of House Outsider’s Champion and its religious advisers, Brommik and Domingo Colo. Recently taken from the previous residents, Gnolls of the Eye and their patron The Great Eye, the pair are trying to improve its situation and establish an altar to act as the focal-point for their patron Goddess’ purposes, Larani the Shield-Maiden of the Worthy Cause, Lady of Paladins and Protector of the Brave. It is an open fact that both are seeking servants, followers and priests of Larani, and hope to turn the hall into a beacon of the flaming sword of justice for the Underdark.
The GlimmerPort : The third of the abandoned trade forts in the town has been cleared and set aside for use by merchants and other visiting trade ventures, protected by a small band of duergar mercenaries. It lies along the local lake, and its docks are capable of improving trade to this town. The “House GlimmerRhun Trade Coster” has begun expansion into the fort, setting-up a trade post with the intent of bringing their rare ores, gemstones, liquor and alchemical reagents to the surface for rare woods, cloth and other trade goods from the surface lands. The trade post is watched over by Matron Kedhira, a duergar theurge of some repute, and a capable merchant.
In addition, a number of small traders have begun to set-up shop in the reclaimed trade post, first led by “Gendar’s Curios and Relics”. Gendar, a charismatic male drow wearing an eyepatch and a predatory grin, he is known to collect rare oddities and sell them at a profit to traders and pilgrims. He is known to have wandered rather extensively, and knows much of the underdark’s hidden backroads. Given the attention Slaveport is receiving in the Underdark lately, he is not likely to be the last newcomer…
The Shatter : The fourth quadrant of the trade town of Slaveport, this section of town has collapsed and lies in a heap of rubble and masonry. Filthy and abandoned, the site is notably often where Skabris the local goblin infochant can be found. Rumor has the site having been the site of a large shrine dedicated to Lolth, and numerous warehouses for its growing wealth.
Nearby Ruins : It is rumored that there is an abandoned stone quarry nearby to Slaveport, that produces a very fine marble. Also, when the community fell to orcish thralls of the mind flayers centuries ago, the immensely valuable mines in the area were lost. Producing admantine in small quantities, it was the reason for the original fort, and its recovery could spell an increase in the local economy…
Also, about three days journey along “The Deep Way”, the trade road to the war-torn ruins of The City of Fountains, lies an abandoned fort. Known as the “Deep Fort”, it commands the approaches along the trade road, but lies abandoned and ancient and full of evil secrets. Even the local Derro who claim the caves as their own, do not venture within.
The Viper Crown : Sigil of a crimson crown of writhing serpents. A slaver faction, this group of ogres are led by Hargas the Cruel, an ogre-mage who sells captured humans from his surface raids in the nearby lands. He serves some larger force, unknown to locals. The Viper Crown agents in and near the city of Slaveport have been eradicated by House Outsider, and their “duties” subsumed by that new House. Their agents are locally reviled by House Outsider law, and are to be hunted and slain, on sight.