Scimitar Rock (Where It All Begins)
The campaign begins on the mote known as Scimitar Rock, discovered 68 years prior, in the beginnings of what is known as the New Age of Expedition. In the manner that human empires measure time, Thellan the Twinblade was the first to successfully navigate the perilous winds of the Eastgale (and return to tell the tale), an adventure bringing him to the shores of Scimitar Rock in 357 A.R, known to most to mean “three hundred and fifty seven, Accession Reckoning,” but spoken of by the people of Aine — the known world’s largest empire — as “Ainic Reckoning.” Within a few years, Thellan had founded the settlement known as Griffton.
The Town of Griffton
Click here for a detailed page about Griffton, including a town map.
Griffton is the only settlement on the Rock, built on the innermost culvert of Griffon Bay. Griffton is a shortened form of “Griffin-town,” what Thellan originally called his settlement, named in honor of the griffons who roost to this day in the northernmost of the two Griffon Spires. The Spires guard the natural pass into the airspace far above the Bay. Built of enormous stone blocks, the northern Spire is sheared off at an irregular angle about 80 feet off the ground, open to the sky. The southern Spire is intact, reaching 160 feet into the skies, and is used as a guard tower by the nominal Griffonton watch. From the guard Spire, it is easy to see ships approaching the bay, as well as fleets approaching the Jannian navy outpost to the northeast. The griffons of the north Spire seem to tolerate the people of Griffton without incident, and some have even known to work with the citizens.
Thellan’s granddaughter, the half-elven Arvellon Twinblade is the current Magistrate of Griffton. She is still young by the years of her own race, but has been in charge of Griffton for a quarter century. She is known to be a fair, kind, but sometimes impulsive leader. She has never wed, and lives in a modest home with her mother, Triwathien.
Arvellon leads by doing, and takes double her fair share of watches, along with the town guard of twenty abled bodies who man the wooden palisade, stock the Southern Spire and patrol the streets. The guard is led by the (literally) stone-faced Sherriff Durri, who appears to be a human with an ‘earthly’ heritage – his skin is nearly gray, and his bald head is adorned with “eyebrows” and “beard” formed from red, ruddy outcroppings of rock. Durri has captained the guard since Thellan’s days; he was the bosun on Thellan’s barque, Baleful, a ship in repair at this time, surrounded by scaffolding. Arvellon has been restoring the ship and hopes to have it ready to undock, though she has never been known to be interested in sailing.
With a few exceptions, the buildings of Griffton are single-story, wooden dwellings. The Twinblade family home is a two-story stone building at the town center, the courtyard in front of it serving as meeting point, trade hub and “courthouse” square. The square is dominated by a large stone statue, said to predate Thellan’s arrival, of an enormous, robed human holding a greatsword aloft, standing over 40 feet from toe to tip of the sword. (Children have been known to climb the statue on a dare.)
Griffton is home to various and sundry businesses, including shipwrights, merchants, fishmongers, traders and distilleries. One of the more prominent local structures is the Fallen Angel, a tavern built in the hull of what appears to be half a wooden galleon, lying on its side. The inn’s sign hangs from the carved wooden figurehead, still attached to the prow of the broken ship, a white painted angel with hands outstretched. The proprietor of the Fallen Angel, an elderly human named Archibald Bush, also the distiller of the prized local Bushwhack Aged Rum, is said to be a retired pirate and has many friends on far-flung motes. One of his oldest friends is Captain Mordren of the Jannian hammership Crag, the Jannian Imperial Navy’s local presence (a few days out of the year) at the outpost near the Spires. Whenever Mordren arrives, it is a cause for celebration at the Angel, for he brings news, rumors, strange artifacts from his travels, and has been known to be rather generous with his coin for grog and wenches alike.
All residents of Griffton know the following about Scimitar Rock and nearby motes:
Stretching nearly five hundred miles from north to south, Scimitar Rock, named by Thellan after his favored weapon once the mote’s shape was determined, is a mote shaped over time by the Eastgale, a tremendous wind blowing forever eastward. The Rock’s entire western face, the Edge, has been shorn smooth by the gale, forming an immense obsidian cliff. Leeward of the cliff, the elevation drops — forming craggy mountains which give way to rolling hills, tropical forests and lush plains. At its northern tip, the Shards are rocky outcroppings known to collect the unfortunate wrecks of ships uncontrollably whipped along the north face of the Edge. The Shards are known to be inhabited by creatures such as harpies — and worse — which prey upon the hapless sailors who wreck there. Most sailors who approach from the southeast give these motes a wide berth.
The Rock has three great jungles, as indicated on the map. (Trees are to be found everywhere, but these are the darkest, densest and most dangerous of them.) A great bay of natural water was formed by rivers from the western mountains emptying out into the remnants of perhaps what used to be a large inlet, prior to the breaking of the world. The ancient body of water, having spilled its contents into the void millenia prior, is now a churning freshwater basin lake hundreds of feet down. The bay — now known as Griffon Bay — is fed by the enormous waterfalls created by the Rock’s rivers. Dangerous, windswept natural paths lead down to the bay.
In the southernmost reaches of the Rock can be found the Hilt and Pommel. The Hilt motes are a collection of large, rocky chunks of land, clustered together on the southern tip of the Edge; the gale-force wins slow enough to make them passable, if ships follow the known safe routes. Separated from these motes by the Hilt Channel is the Pommel, the largest of the non-mainland pieces of Scimitar Rock. Hilly in the west, the Pommel also is home in the east to the Pommelwald, the verdant tropical forest.
Scimitar Rock lies on the far southeast periphery of the known world. To the west and northwest lie distant motes of the Certh and Jannian empires. Far south of Scimitar Rock are the Fangs, the borderlands between human empire and the wyrm-ruled motes of the Drag-Suan dynasty. To the east lie the open skies and the great unknown. Airships, private and imperial, sail off into the void; many employ the relative safety and neutrality of Scimitar Rock’s sheltering bay as a mustering point.
Scimitar Rock is a subtropical island. The summers are warm and humid, with frequent showers of misty rain and clinging fog. The heavy rain usually comes in the winter, when the temperature is mild during the day and cool enough for long sleeves at night. Thunderstorms are common, especially in the western mountains, but the winds to the east are calm and more predictable. Once or twice each winter, the island is peppered with hail, but these hailstorms turn to rain quickly.
Life on Scimitar Rock
Griffton is the only settlement on the Rock. The remainder of the island is home to (mostly) harmless subtropical wildlife as well as stirges, fire beetles, snakes, spiders, scorpions, boars, and the odd spitting drake. Rumors abound, of course, of more dangerous things lurking in the darkest parts of the jungles and the harder to reach parts of the hills. The farmland around Griffton is dotted with small homesteads and the occasional lookout tower, and raids by monstrous things are thankfully rare.
The History of the Rock
Thellan, a human warrior, sailor and explorer, was only twenty years of age when he chose to sail the Eastgale. He managed to avoid smashing into the western Edge, and successfully sailed south around the Hilt. Then, goblin ships attacked, using a poorly-maintained warship they had no doubt reconstructed from one that had crashed in the Hilt years prior. Thellan fled north, along the eastern border of the mote, into undiscovered lands. He saw two spires protecting an entrance to a sheltered bay, and, to his surprise, the goblins did not follow him.
The Green Wyrm
Southwatch & The Pommel
Taking up the eastern third of the Pommel mote, the Pommelwald is known to be infested with goblins, and intrepid explorers and noble huntsmen on safari used to launch many expeditions to it … until the goblins learned to construct their own longboats capable of sailing the void. (No doubt, a most clever goblin must have constructed the first gobbenboat from the captured ship of a foolish adventurer!) Now, the inhabitants of Scimitar Rock see the Pommel as a neighboring land to be feared, and skirmishes are frequent. The chieftan — if there is one — of the Pommelgoblins has never been seen, yet there is still a bounty on his head of 2,000 gold pieces. From time to time,
The Stone of Storms
Other Motes Nearby
Nearby motes of interest include