Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Quarnal Banks

Comprised of a conglomeration of derelict galleys, longboats, barges, rafts, and junks, the 'village' of Quarnal Banks lies anchored a few leagues off-shore in shallow waters off the coast of the Batur Duchy. The 'Banks' are protected by reefs and barrier islands on the seaward side, buffering the community from the worst of the seasonal storms and off-shore currents.

Its citizens are made up of fisher-folk, pirates (both retired and active), heretics, and those who need a bit of breathing room between themselves and the authorities. The group is mostly left alone by the powers-that-be, who have greater challenges than policing a few 'floating miscreants,' but any significant raid originating from the community, or rumor of intelligence or treasure coming to light among the rafts may renew the attention of the authorities. Its residents live on or below-decks of their craft. Most are accepted into the community, as long as they bring something to contribute.

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Scattered among the flotsam and jetsam of the community are the following:

The leader of the community, Vytas Sayad, is a retired pirate. He administers the colony, and resolves conflicts and legal matters to the best of his ability. Vytas lives on a large junk on south end of colony. The ship (The Jovial Bear) was his last prize, but is now demasted and static. He administers from a pavilion-tent near the bow, and lives in the captain's quarters with his three wives and several children, who are typically found running around below-decks, or roaming the rafted community with their peers. (Vytas Sayad: Ftr 5, 25HP, AC5/15 (Chainmail +1), Battleaxe, Light crossbow (6 +1 bolts), 991 gp, garnet and silver cloak-brooch (100 gp), potions of cure light wounds, bear's endurance).

Sayad's 'first' wife, Astaer, was once a courtesan who loved the romance of her engagement to a dashing pirate. Now she is dour and resents being removed from 'good' society to this stinking collection of boats. She does, however, love her children, attempting to give them a modicum of education and manners, and manages the family with a captain's efficiency. His 'second' wife, Luella Morit-Sayad, is another 'retired' pirate who lost her ship to Sayad, but joined him in later adventures (Thief 3, 10HP, AC6/14 (leather + DEX), shortbow, dagger +2, 203 gp (100 gp is hidden within an ornate, heavy staff hung in the stateroom), rose quartz necklace (80 gp)). She keeps up her skills by occasionally lifting valuables from visiting boats and crews. Vytas' 'third' wife, Lyone, is barely out of her teens. She arrived on the colony a shocked, mute stowaway. Vytas married her to put her under his protection, and she recovered her speech, and is known to be an empathetic, gentle soul. Only she and Vytas know the circumstances that brought Lyone across two kingdoms to the coast.

Mosis Chau, the local shaman, provides spiritual guidance for the colony, and protects it via weather predictions, protection from fire, etc. He lives on a circular raft along the eastern edge of the colony, so that he may greet the rising sun. The raft is heavily-reinforced to support his garden plot of herbs and vegetables shared with the community. (Druid 7, 31HP, AC6/14 (Leather and +1 wooden shield, Arrow Catching), Spear +1 (Call Lightning 1/day), detect magic, faerie fire, predict weather, purify water, speak with animals, warp wood, cure disease, protection against fire, protection from lightning, 99 gp, 206 sp, bag with several garnets (5x10 gp, 40 gp, 2x50 gp, 60 gp, 130 gp)).

Hemet Poldel, a senile former coastal raider, lives on an idle longboat, chained pointing permanently to the northeast. On most days, he roams the deck of his ship, shouting commands to imaginary crew in recollection of raids past. He is taunted by the flotilla's children, but is generally harmless and tended after by Lyone, as well as an old comrade, Osami Ghan.  In moments of lucidity he sadly tells of his enchanted spear and a treasure worthy of a royal, stolen from him by a sea-hag and hidden among the tangled mangrove groves up the coast.

Aleis Son, the community 'barber' lives in a nicely-appointed cabin on a small barge near the center of the rafts. She cuts hair, performs rough dental work, and stitches up the inevitable small wounds incurred by the fishermen and others (1-2 hp recovery). She sells a few herbal remedies purchased from onshore - some efficacious, some placebo (360 sp, 192 cp).

Emil Tast has a residence on two lashed-together fishing craft in the center of colony. He acts as the community's tailor/mercer and crafts oilcloth and waxed-cotton jerkins and cloaks for sailors. The garments are weather-proof, reinforced, and offer similar protection to padded or leather armor. The jerkins also have reinforced rings attached for safety lines while working in the top masts. Cost: Cloak - 5 gp; Jerkin - 10 gp. Emil is actually deathly afraid of drowning and storms, but relocated here to avoid gambling debts (85 gp, 203 sp, well-made harp (100 gp)).

The eccentric Tharn family has harnessed six boats together in star pattern, crouching under tents and tarps stretched across their narrow decks. They are worshipers of Dagon, and are generally shunned by the remainder of community. Sayad allowed them to join the group, but had their boats lashed to the stern of his ship in order to keep an eye on them. The leader of the family, Oemo Tharn, is secretly a necromancer (4th level, 8HP, AC8/11 (+1 ring of protection), dagger, cause light wounds, exterminate, ray of enfeeblement, ghoul touch, speak with dead). He makes a few coins and sustenance for the family by magically exterminating vermin infesting the floating town (17 gp, 152 sp, 311 cp, 2x10 gp agate).

Osami Ghan is not as retired as her old captain. She keeps a longboat and with her crew of 12 to 15 will prey on the occasional small merchantman passing through. The pirates know the reefs intimately, and their shallow-draft boat has left more than one pursuer gutted on the coral.  Osami is missing one eye from a childhood mishap (although she'll claim it was a duel). She replaced it with a Seeing Eye Gem. This particular gem confers the ability of making her exceptionally difficult to surprise. She was not present when Hemet lost his treasure to the sea-hag, but would love a few extra hands to help locate and recover the loot, hidden somewhere northeast of the anchorage. (Thief 4, 12HP, AC7/13, light crossbow, short sword, 160 gp, 263 sp, deep blue spinel (200 gp)). (Pirate crew - Ftr 1, AC8/12, shortbow, battle axe or longsword).

The community's pilot and carpenter live on a large ketch near the floating dock. Pilot Persay Thoull sails out to meet many of the same merchant-ships preyed upon by Osami to assist them through the reefs and shoals and onward toward the coast.

Kelsay Thrythlque, a surprisingly stout sea-elf, repairs and maintains the fishing craft and other boats, as well as makes repairs to reef-damaged ships so that they may continue on their routes (Ftr/MU2, 15HP, AC7/12, longsword (+1 STR to-hit/dmg), detect magic, shield, 39 gp, 5 sp, 9 cp, Chalcedony ring (40 gp)).

The community tavern, The Fat Orca, shares a large barge with the fishing-folk longhouse. Both buildings are long, rough-hewn single-floor shacks. The longhouse is thatch-roofed, while the tavern is shingled. The tavern is run by sisters Lala and Emmie Arler. They fled arranged marriages intended to advance their father's merchant trade. If he catches wind of their location, there is a good chance that he will send agents to kidnap them home.
The menu is hearty, but basic, including:
  • Fish Stew with Parsnips
  • Pickled Shark and Radish
  • Boiled Crab and Potatoes
  • Roast Goose and Artichokes (if hunting is good)
Available drinks vary based on what has been traded for on the mainland, occasionally supplemented by beverages 'liberated' from traders by Osami and her crew. Selections include casks of ale and mediocre wine, bottles of good wine, and the occasional case of distilled spirits. The Arlers will put up lodgers, either in old ships' hammocks hung in the tavern, or berthing below-decks in a derelict coastal freighter, The Limping Gypsy, tied up adjacent to the tavern barge.

Several fishing-boats based at the village ply the warm waters and reefs near the community. They supply fresh fish, crab, and lobster to the community, and preserve a portion of the catch for lean times and to sell to the occasional passing ship.

A quorum of frog-folk live beneath the community in the warm waters. They happily trade fish, shellfish and artifacts found on the seafloor for copper, preferably in ingot form. No one is quite sure why they need so much copper.

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