The Hammers of Kalrosh: Preface

Kalrosh

     Our story takes place on the stony continent of Kalrosh, whose geography contains plateaus, crystalline forrests with dark or light stones, mountains, and a large gaping hole in the continent called The Great Chasm. The plateaus are usually named landmarks that the people of the land attribute to Skoraeus, the main deity. The crystalline forests have no lore about them, as no one knows how they came to be. Not even the Stone Giants, Duergar, or Drow know the true tale. The crystals that make up these forests grow very similar to trees: they take in light, store the energy, and have deep roots going deep down into the Underdark. There are two crystal forests: The Darkstone forest and The Sunstone forest.

The Darkstone Forest


     Many spectres, ghouls, ghosts, and other vile creatures live in the Darkstone Forrest. The Darkstone forest glows purple during the day as the sun passes through its large crystal pillars, and at night the stones emit a purple glow that lights up its twisted and winding paths. However, no one who enters the forest, day or night, come back. The light from these black & purple stones do not trigger sunlight sensitivity. The stones can be broken off to produce two different items: Darkstone and Soulgems. Darkstone has many applications, such as being used for lighting. Another application refers to Stone Cutting, which will be talked about later, involving etching runes into the stones to allow for augmentation of weapons and armor, granting necrotic damage and resistances. Soulgems are sold overseas and are mostly used by Warlocks, Sorcerers, Wizards, and Necromancers.

The Sunstone Forest


     In the middle-right section of Kalrosh lies the Sunstone Forest, which is home to Annis Hags that prey on villagers, priests, and any travellers on the road. The forest is home to several cave entrances, from which the Drow can be seen trying to sneak out of before the bright light from the Sunstones drives them blind. The Sunstone Forest is similar to the Darkstone forest, but nearly three times its size. In the center of the forest stands a Sun Altar, which many pilgrims travel to see at least once in their life. Many offerings are left behind to the sun gods, and the gods punish those who would steal from it. At night, the Sunstone forest lights up, glowing as bright as day. The light produced from the stones trigger sunlight sensitivity. Sunstones have many uses, from powering airships and dwarven machinery, to lighting up home interiors. Stone Cutters use these stones to produce augmentations that grant radiant damage and resistances.

Leadership


     The land is set with numerous villages and towns, each governed by an individual called a Judge. Judges act like barons, setting up taxes and governing their lands with the blessing of King Thalumend. King Thalumend is a very large Stone Giant, the largest of his kind, who rules with a strong fist and a kind heart. The King is chosen by Stone Giants, who pick the greatest craftmaker among them. Such a king is referred to as the 'Chosen of Skoraeus' and speaks as both god and king.

Skoraeus's Throne, Capital of Kalrosh


     The capital of Kalrosh is a large stone city built around the skeletal remains of a Terrasque. The capital, called Skoraeus's Throne, is home to the only stone workers of the land, who shape rock into armor and weapons, magically enchanted to be strong, and sold as +1 weapons/armor. Steel is an unlikely material in the capital, but it can be bought from the other cities. The city is home to traders, who sell alchemy, leather, carpenty, and other useful services. Not very many guilds exist in the capital, usually just bounty boards and the Legion of Skoraeus. The capital is home to the largest quantity of Stone Cutters, as a majority of shops sell a variety of the elemental stones that dot the land.

The Legion of Skoraeus


     The Legion of Skoraeus is the army and strength of Skoraeus. Usually, a unit consists of two stone giants, or several of the smaller races. The Legion act in his name, carrying his honor and are treated well within any city, and thier decrees exceed the power of a Judge.

Onatar's Gate


     On the shores east of the Sunstone Forest lies Onatar's Gate, a small community the deals with Sunstone manufacturing, but mostly deals with common yokels who farm and fish. In the center of the town is a great stone arch, which is rumored to be used back in ancient times as a portal between worlds or planes, but the magics of the gate are inactive, perhaps not even existent.

Mines: Rubies and Diamonds


     If you head west from Onatar's Gate, through the Sunstone Forest, You will come across Skoraeus's Throne. From there, several mines can be easily accessed, but most commonly are the diamond and ruby mines.

Skoraeus's Table


     The northwestern corner of Kalrosh is home to a large plateau called Skoraeus's Table, which is home to a single Bheur hag. The area surrounding the Table is barren, but the top of the plateau is an icy wasteland. On top of the table lies four pillars called The Forks of Skoraeus, which are cursed pillars that are used to bind prey, trapping them in unbreakable chains. Legends hold that these forks were used as the first form of imprisonment by the gods: trangressors would be binded to the forks for several days without food or water. Animals, such as hawks, would swoop down to feast on the prisoners, which is why it is called Skoraeus's Table.

Moradin's Ladder

Heading south and then east from the Throne takes you to Moradin's Ladder, a large mountain that no mere mortal can climb. At the top of the mountain lies a monastary, but that is all just speculation. No one who travelled to the top never returned. The area surrounding the mountain is very rocky and dangerous. Rumors of numerous Basilisks roaming the base of the mountain are quite common, and a few statues of humanoid figures can be seen, many broken. However, those who manage to trek the rocky plains find many useful materials, such as rare gemstones and powerful healing herbs.

Rogue's Port


     Heading east from Skoraeus's Throne takes you to a town of murder, thieving, and overall vileness called Rogue's Port. The people are friendly, but bitter. The town has the largest presence of thieves on the whole planet, and those who travel there find a majority of the town's hands in their pockets. The guard are easily bribed or threatened; it's Judge letting the town fall to corruption. At night, everyone hides indoors, even the Theive's Guild, as night brings nothing but death and savagery from the denizens of the Darkstone Forest.

The Great Chasm


     East of the Darkstone forest lies the Great Chasm. About one hundred years ago, a peaceful school used to exist where the hole stands. Rumor has it that the school dealt not in just magic but necromancy, and was blasted by Skoraeus's fury, destroying the continent in the process. Since it's disappearance, any mining done by the surrounding cities result in collapses and death.

Zektu


     Zektu, a small mining community, has been turned into a ghost town thanks to this cursed luck. The town mostly gets by with Animal Handling, breeding horses, Bulletes, Rhinos, and other large creatures. The town has adopted a Wild West demeanor after the invention of the gun by a crazed gnome named Thag the Marksman. Many of its people carry his fine works, and every week the town has a new sheriff, which is caused by it's careless Judge. Those who become the sheriff uphold the law, having no choice but to obey the directives of the Judge.

Dal'Krosh


     On the other side of the chasm lies a city with a great wall, called Dal'Krosh. The town, went several decades unable to mine, and fell into an economic depression. However, about 4 decades ago a strong dwarf with a keen mind set about mining the lost land. He was well known for his family relic, a silver ring set with a golden jewel, which has been passed down to his children, each of whom have lived short lives, aging exactly fifty years and then dying of natural causes. The current decendant, a man named Qwarf, is the current ring bearer and master of the mines.

The Frosthand Mountains


     East of Dal'Krosh lies the Frosthand Mountains. There are five large mountains in the area, forming five talons that pull up towards the sky. A fearsome roar can be heard from the top of the mountains, and bones can be found around the base of some mountains, most larger than the common beasts.

Zeus


     South of the Frosthand Mts. lies several small villages, most importantly Zeus. Zeus is an airship field, which were just invented about four years ago by a combination of Dwarven machinery, Elven magic, and Gnome crafting. The ships are powered by sunstones, and fly frequently to Onatar's gate and Skoraeus's Throne to restock. Several other continents, such as Vle'anos, have airship fields. Travel between continents is starting to become faster and more common.
     At the very southeastern shore of Kalrosh, there is a peaceful temple called Stormhaven, filled with clerics of Talos. The clerics control the lighthouse, guiding ships from the sea to the Kalrosh. The monastary was attacked by bandits recently and none of the clerics remain alive.

Technology


     Airships were invented about twenty years ago, and have been slowly gaining popularity since. The first airship was built in a small town called Zeus, where Dwarves, Elves, and Gnomes got together. The Gnomes crafted the design, drawing schematics for an engine that would be powered by Dwarven Lightning Stones. The Dwarves built the engine, and then the elves created a light-weight design around it. The end result was a large boat with a turbo-engine jutting out the back of it. It looked rediculous, and no one in the town believed it would work. However, their jaws soon hit the floor when the thing took off, and flew across the continent in a day. Landing was the hard part, but after that first success, many boats had been built since. Zeus has the largest airship field on the whole plane, and also has the most airships available. It is the only city on the continent of Kalrosh to have an airship field.

     Stone Cutting is a difficult trade mastered millenia ago by the dwarves, surpassing even the Stone Giants in the crafting of the magic stones. Different stones produce different effects, however some produce the same effects, such as diamonds and sunstone producing the radiant effects. Gems can be etched with runes, and gain effects that coordinate to their color. A magic tool called a Scratcher is used to etch runes into these stones. After the runes are carved into the rocks, they are filled with powder, such as clay or silver. The runed rocks can be placed into weapons, but only by professionals, who magically press the stones into the metal, causing a loud sizzling sound as the rock molds with the steel. It is very difficult and costly to remove an augmentation from a weapon, requiring a special magical calliper to pull the stone from the metal.

Beastiary


     The land is home to many creatures, each different based on location. Starting north, Bugbear and Ogres are the most common enemies, and most of them are ruled over by a bandit king named Prag'tar of the Iron Tusks. There is a strong citadel called Prag'tar, an old colliseum that hasn't seen proper use since several thousand years ago. The citadel of Prag'tar is guarded by an old lighthouse called the Eye of Prag'tar, which uses its light to spot invaders or guide Prag'tar's bandits at night.

How The Story Is Written


     The story takes perspective from the game Pestilence, a table top RPG that I am currently devoloping. I've implemented some of my new classes and rules to give the story and the main characters a stronger and more heroic approach, giving both enemies and the characters advantages. Here is an up-to-date list of what I've included:

     As the story progresses, it can be noted that the Pestilence elements are removed. This is true: telling a story from turn-based combat is difficult, and despite the grandeur of each classes offered in rpg's, the uniqueness of each character dimishes. To get past that, I eventually decided to focus on telling the story from the perspective an embellished narrator, who focuses more so on the actions taken instead of turns performed. Sounds similar, but certain details have more focus compared to before..

Proceed to Chapter 1: The Hungry Troll

Meet the characters:

Crow Lord, Druid of Crows
Warsch, Aasimar Paladin from the Order of the Silver Flame
Spider, Chosen Shadow Monk of Lolth
Tharyn Qul'Wrath, Necromancer
Stormdrake, Wielder of Stormfury