View Full Version : Campaigns / Adventures Stormreach - Pirate city

David Anthony
07-06-2012, 06:58 AM
I am giving you the abridged version of an old setting that I wrote for Pyramid eons ago. They rejected them, their loss. I have posted this on the ukroleplayers forum, too. Parts in blue are the secrets of the city. If you need further info just ask.

Stormreach is a small town situated on a remote island, far away from any land mass but very close to the shipping lanes. The city managed to remain indipendent through the years and to become an important port of call for the local pirates. Many years ago Stormreach was conquered by an highly advanced, sophisticated empire of Muslim seafarers. Stormreach thrived under the rule of the Muslims that used the port to resupply the ships during the long voyage back home. The empire is long gone, but the traces of that conquest remain in the culture and architecture of the city. Right now, Stomreach is the place where a pirate can lay down his weapons, relax and spend his ill gotten gains.
The city is small but very densely populated, with narrow, twisting streets, quite filthy but with much less beggars than average. The docks are bustling with activity, with the dockhands loading and unloading ships all day. The night is alive with the continuous bustle from the many inns, taverns and brothels.

The oldest and richest buildings of the city still retain some traces of the old Muslim style, with Islamic domes and arabesques. The center of the city still retains the paved streets and the sophisticated sewer system, near collapse.

The underground of the city is all pitted with a water management system called a Qanat, giving fresh, clean water to the city. Nobody knows how to build a similar system now. Given the Muslim's disdain for magic, the Qanat has been built with crazy engineering skills and hard labour. The access to the Qanat is restricted and any attempt to damage it would be dealt with summary execution. Some modern mages are starting to use spells to repair and mantain the Qanat, with mixed success.
The mosque was razed to the ground during the fall of the empire, but the underground of the mosque was never found. Many priceless treasures are unaccounted for, hidden in plain sight inside the pillars of some buildings of the old city, kept safe by a code that requires deep knowledge of Arabic and of the Quran to crack. Many of the arabesques on those pillars are NOT decorations but sophisticated mechanical switches and traps.The treasure was hidden by the last Imam of the city when he realized that the Muslim Empire was about to collapse. He wanted a future sect of Muslims to find the treasure and use it to fund a rebellion. The treasure is solid gold bars, enough to fund a small army or several warships.

Any attempt to form a centralized government failed. Right now, the de facto ruler is John Black, an old pirate that retired after seizing and enormous treasure. He has no formal power, but he commands the respect of all the richest and most powerful people of the city. His enormous wealth allows him to fund a small private army, but he does not like to rule by force. He is simply a jolly good fellow that works hard to keep the rum flowing, the brothels open and the streets safe. Too much money and too much power are slowly making him megalomaniac. Several great empires have sent "ambassadors" to try to manipulate him, with various degree of success
The city is loosely policed by a small platoons of guards paid by the richest citiziens and entrusted to keep the city safe. Stormreach is a place where even the most wanted criminal can walk around safely and relax, since crimes committed elsewhere do not carry on. Even citizens of warring nations are supposed to set aside their rivalities while chilling out in Stormreach.

Culture and religion
Although the Muslim faith is long gone, the culture of the city shows Muslim influences. Almost nobody eats pork, claiming that pig meat is unhealthy. Many local people prefer herbal tea or not-alcoholic beverages to alcohol, but they have no compunctions on selling alcohols to the foreigners.
The average resident of Stormreach caters to the needs of the passing pirates, giving them services and solace until they get back to the sea, penniless but happy.
The vast majority of the city professes Catholicism or Protestantism. Almost any religious creed is tolerated and respected, as long as not too obnoxious. Jews are disliked but tolerated, as long as they mind their own business and stay in their designated area of the town. All the old Jewish residents were expelled during the Muslim rule, the few Jews living in Stormreach are a group of adventurous young merchants poised to get rich with the pirates and to overthrow the rule of the John Black and install a puppet governor appointed by them. Many of them are still burning with hatred for the brutal "cleansing" of their people from the city

There is an underground Muslim cult in the city, with a lot of members in high places. They are secretly professing the Muslim faith while pretending to be Catholics (doing Taqiyya) while biding their time and waiting for a "sign from above". They want to overthrow John Black, cleanse the city from unbelievers, kill off all the Jews and install a Caliphate. They are looking for the treasure, but they have missed the clues that have been seized by the Templars. (see below)

Stormreach is a place where the pirates can unload their booty and relax. There is not much local industry, just some local brewing and a vast, well stocked naval yard. The shipbuilder can build and repair any ship and they will buy any ship you can tow to the yard, no questions asked. They will not pay much. If you are looking for a cheap, reconditioned ship, then Stormreach naval yard is the best place in the world.
The hot, humid climate allows growing of sugarcane and brewing of a vile rum that does not spoil in storage, perfect for naval travel. There are some vast plantation of citrus fruit in the interior, manned by slaves that die quickly in the hot climate.
Slavery is thriving, with a big slave market that sells the slaves captured by the pirates. The local slavers are always willing to buy strong slaves for the plantations or slaves with special talents (magical talent, physical beauty, useful skills) to be sold at a premium price to buyers coming from all over the world. A small delegation of Knights Templars is there to ransom any important prisoner of Catholic faith. They are also looking for the lost treasure of the mosque. They have found some clues, but they lack the necessary skills to decipher them.

Any attempt to establish a Mage Guild failed. Magic is unregulated, but the chaotic environment prevents any serious magic activity. Everyone of importance has at least a mage advisor and some bodyguards with alchemical/magic enhancement to make them less susceptible to magic. The attitude towards magic is deeply distrustful, again due to the Muslim influence and to an artifact of Muslim origin that makes everybody in the area distrustful of mages. Also, mages tend to suffer from lack of focus and increased chance of critical failures when casting. Normal magic is unaffected but cerimonial magic and enchanting are severely hampered. There are some Mages guild covert operative in the city, looking for the source of the problem. If they manage to fix it, the Mages guild will come in force and seize the city because it is an ideal location for a Guild.

Source: The Palermo Qanat.


David Anthony
07-12-2012, 08:13 AM
What the hell, 43 views and not even a "thanks"?

07-12-2012, 09:02 AM
Actually, getting more and more views means that people are interested in your work. They just haven't had any questions yet. Some folks post things that get very minimal viewing.

David Anthony
07-14-2012, 08:02 PM
Well, I hope that at least people are reading that post and liking it. Maybe I mislabeled the thread, it's more a setting than a map. Too bad I have no idea how to relabel it.

07-14-2012, 08:43 PM
There you go David. I took care of relabeling the thread for you. Let me know if I can be of any other assistance.

Evil Nosferatu
11-28-2012, 08:20 PM
Very nice. Thank you.

11-29-2012, 09:29 PM
interesting. too tied to earth to be of unaltered use to me, but a lot of the underlying plot and hook ideas can be adapted to almost any set of cultures, races, and setting. thank you for posting it. good ideas are always welcome!