August Entry: Judenaia
I hope this entry isn't too late to submit. My time change to South Korea really messed things up. Regardless, my map seeks to answer the challenge by providing a starting city for the PCs to adventure in and a brief taste of a campaign to explore with adventure hooks based on prominent locations around the city. Comments appreciated. Thanks all!
Judenaia (JÜ-de-NAI-uh) is a city of the Empire Above—a series of eight floating islands ruled by the Mother of All Sorcerers. The Empire’s industrial capital, Judenaia is a place where golems and magic blades are crafted wholesale, and where pollution takes on an arcane form. A splice in the fabric of the cosmos provides sustenance to the entire city from the Plane of Water. This void has created a lush environment for the city of Judenaia and its inhabitants.
In addition to humans, planetouched, and a few residents of monstrous blood, Judenaia contains a large population of kobolds. Draconic blood makes them take well to spellcraft, and they are the principle demographic of Judenaia’s working class. They live in caves and hammocks beneath Judenaia, staying out of the city’s way when not at work.
The Airyard: As an industrial city, Judenaia has one of the busiest (and ugliest) airyards in the Empire Above. A large field allows zeppelins to land with ease to be unloaded by strong-backed laborers and outdated constructs from the local golem factories. A one-horned minotaur named Yardmaster Wout tends to the day-to-day managing of the airyard on behalf of the magocracy, inspecting shipments and collecting levees with a cadre of well-trained assistants, many of whom are kobolds.
Adventure Hook: Though Wout is physically intimidating, he tends to stand out in a crowd. When he suspects a zeppelin of smuggling boxes of necromantic spell components, he looks to a party of rough-looking adventurers to spearhead his investigation.
Skyguard Garrison: Bathed in the brown-and-maroon patterns of Judenaia’s flag, the Skyguard Garrison is where the police force of Judenaia is housed and trained. The city maintains two hundred soldiers and half again as many servants and auxiliaries. Twenty to fifty trainees are also found here, engaged in a one-year course that includes lessons on everything from shipping law to crossbow maintenance to coordination with battle mages.
Adventure Hook: After a unit of ten Skyguard was outmaneuvered by a versatile kobold adventuring party, they look to the party to serve as consultants and trainers in fighting a well-balanced, magic capable foe.
The Two Brewers: The Two Brewers are perhaps the oddest pair in Judenaia: Dodd, an effeminate kobold sorcerer and winemaker; and Rufus, a smarmy human alebrewer who stole his recipes from the sacred scrolls of a dwarf. Together, this odd pair produces the most popular vintages of the Empire Above, many of which incorporate magic potions in their mix.
Adventure Hook: While Dodd flirts with the most attractive male PC, his drunken partner bemoans how he never has the components for his new Goodberry Brew. He’s attempted to secure some wands of goodberry for months now, and he offers double the market value for as many of three of them should the party happen upon a druidic wandmaker in their travels.
The Minotaur Club: Judenaia’s most notorious inn caters to both the decadent and the adventurous. Its common area feature a broad, circular pit in the center, inside of which is always found a monster of some form. In addition to spicing up barfights, the monster is also the last challenge for people who decide to run the “Minotaur’s Maze,” a handcrafted dungeon that costs one hundred gold coins to enter with teams no larger than five. Making one’s way through and slaying the monster nets a return of five thousand gold pieces.
The Minotaur is ran by Philip Tate, a young wizard who recently inherited it from his retired uncle. He does his best to live up to his establishment’s reputation, but he is not the fearsome image its former proprietor was.
Adventure Hook: After the PCs slay the monster and claim the prize, Philip asks for help in improving the dungeon. He has set aside twenty thousand gold coins for the project, and will offer two thousand of them as payment for the party’s serving as dungeon consultants.
Judenaia Market: The Judenaia Market consists mostly of stalls sprawled across the open floor of a large, stone building. Three mezzanines overlook the action while housing fancier, more permanent shops. A top story provides lodging to the market caretaker, his family, and a dizzying array of records and deeds. Four Skyguard patrol the market at any given time, taking turns walking the mezzanines and patrolling the ground floor.
Adventure Hook: When counterfeit coins start appearing in the merchants’ coffers, everyone starts pointing fingers. The merchants demand that the caretaker reimburse them, who only turns to the Skyguard, who in turn appeal to the Magister, who in turn looks to the merchants and says, “handle it.” By the time all this comes to fruition, the market is in utter turmoil, and more than a few merchants would be willing to join a fund to bring in outside aid in the form of PC investigators.
The Emerald Theater: The Emerald Theater provides a place for operas, acrobatic troupes, and other performers to display their arts while on circuit through the Empire Above. Illusionists, a symphony orchestra, and a few local actors keep the venue occupied when it is not hosting a major event. An overweight minstrel named Benjamin Paine keeps it all organized, neat, and profitable.
Adventure Hook: Benjamin Paine has a nasty habit of scandalizing the local magocracy, so it comes as little surprise when someone arrives at the Emerald to find that Paine has been transformed into a chicken. As the magical pranks escalate, he looks to the PCs for protection.
The Empress’ Delight: Called by the spellcasting elite the only tolerable source of entertainment in an otherwise ugly city, the Delight is a bar, restaurant, and extradimensional funhouse. The outside of the place is almost windowless, decorated instead by dancing illusory murals. Inside, a dozen magic doors appear to lead outside but instead lead to special rooms on various planes. Entrance to these reserved rooms costs hundreds of gold pieces, and resourceful wizards have been known to use them to travel between planes at a pinch. An even thousand can get one into the Platinum Door, rumored to lead directly into Sigil.
A few of its most popular rooms provide ample opportunity for adventure hooks.
• The Aquarium: A pearl dolphin on a pedestal marks the Aquarium. Guests are taught a command word to receive a water breathing from this decoration, which allows them to enter a fully submerged room with a variety of benign underwater fauna and flora.
• The Ranch Room: A pair of golden steer’s horns marks a door that leads to a ranch in the Happy Hunting Grounds that arranges grand hunts of magical beasts.
Adventure Hook: In a slain villain’s desk, the PCs find an invitation to an extraplanar manhunt in the Ranch Room. Depending on the party alignment, they could either try to stop the event or compete against some notorious wizards in their grizzly but lucrative tournament.
The Plaza of Candles: Judenaia’s library is one of the most peaceful places on the island. Stained-glass windows depict famous moments in both fiction and history, while floating, everburning candles drift about between the stacks and eagerly looking for ways to be helpful. Aspiring wizards are often deposited at the Plaza to further their pursuit of knowledge and test the limits of their independent potential.
Adventure Hook: The candles are acting strange of late. While normally obedient and clever, they have been spitefully knocking over books, abandoning people in the dark, and swatting people on the head. The librarians deny that anything is wrong, but the PCs are lead to believe that they know more than they are letting on about the odd behavior of their magic servants.
The Mortuary of the Scroll: Space is at a premium in Judenaia, which requires that the dead be handled carefully. Nebacanezzer, the most powerful necromancer on the island, single-handedly tends to this delicate task. For the right coin, he will see to it that a body is revived, destroyed, preserved, mined for information, et cetera, et cetera. Most people sign up for the basic package—1 gp, and the body is “taken care of.”
Adventure Hook: On the fifth day of the fifth month, the Mortuary closes. Rumors abound as to what is actually going on there, ranging from grizzly blood sacrifices to body auctions for local necromancers. A curious wizard and rival of Nebacanezzer’s offers substantial reward if the party can infiltrate the yearly event and learn what transpires there.
The Temple of the Winds [also known as “The Universal Church of the Creator”]: The four winds—Kain, Arc, Kwana, and Mir—are prayed to at this, the most popular temple for the Empire Above. Though small shrines to other gods can be found through Judenaia, the Temple of the Winds is its only organized religious entity. In addition to religious services, they also sell sending spells at 100 gp, relaying messages to other islands of the empire, all of which contain their own Temple of the Winds.
Adventure Hook: The Temple of the Winds encourages its members to eschew the Mortuary in favor of “giving your body to the winds”—that is, throwing corpses off the side of the island. A skeptical worshipper asks the party to find out exactly where these corpses land before he agrees to commit his body to such a funeral. He provides a few scrolls of feather fall as a business expense.
The Golem Factory: The pride of Judenaian industry, the Golem Factory produces the components for the myriad styles of golem that appear throughout the Empire Above. Dozens of wizards serve as master engineers, while other labor is provided by kobolds, golems, and a handful of gelatinous cubes. The factory is not open to the public, and even the Magister himself is discouraged from entering it.
Adventure Hook: The Golem Factory is a dungeon in and of itself, ideal as a “final dungeon” for Judenaia. All manner of magical experiments can go awry here, and it should be assumed that PCs would not enter such a site without being well-armed with golem-battling equipment.
Arcanum Archives: While the Plaza of Candles serves a public library, the Arcanum Archives serve the clerical needs of such an intricate city as Judenaia. It also serves as a governmental building, with locals going there to apply for building permits and other licenses.
Adventure Hook: A shop frequented by the PCs is accused illegal zoning by a jealous rival. A routine visit to the Archives reveals that the deed has vanished without a trace.
Magi’s High Courts: The hub of Judenaian government, the High Courts are a massive structure that caters not only to Judenaians, but also as an ultimate arbiter for disputes in the Kingdoms Below—the terrestrial regions that lie under Judenaia’s influence in the global empire. Most of Judenaia’s most powerful wizards can be found at the high courts, and it is patrolled by twenty Skyguard in addition to various golems and magical traps.
Adventure Hook: A pair of feuding kings from the Kingdoms Below have come to the High Courts to plead their cases. One of these rulers looks to the PC to help prepare for his time before the Magi, learning of the Magisterial court system and the judges who will be deciding the fate of his borders.
Home of Saint Ambros: Saint Ambros was once a powerful cleric from the Kingdoms Below, a builder of cathedrals and a leader of men. So powerful did Ambros grow that he was welcomed into Judenaia with open arms and pulled into its wizardly intrigues. His home was built as a gift by Judenaian wizards, its architecture inspired by that of Ambros’ cathedrals. The building, however, is for sale. Ambros quickly grew tired of Judenaia, and his ostentatious cathedral home has not yet been purchased.
Adventure Hook: Neighbors swear they can see late night services being held at the home of Saint Ambros, complete with flickering braziers and solemn chanting. The building’s owner has checked the place five times after such reports, never finding so much as a single lingering magical aura. He begins posting notices at the Two Brewers and the Minotaur Club that he wants to pay a group to stay the night in the empty home and see what they can see.
Apparently, the map was giving me trouble. Trying to upload it again.
Edit: ###Latest WIP### Thanks for tip Tilt!
Last edited by Icestorm008; 08-26-2010 at 09:41 PM.
you need to put ### Latest WIP ### before your picture for the thumbnail scraper to pick it up (and to show that this it the current entry)
oh.. and nice map - lovely city, like the little market in there
Lovely map, but where is the location of the 'People's Front of Judenaia?'
Looks great. Cool idea with the floating city and airyard and such. Love the market. And that red-tiled, hexagonal building makes me want to know what's in it.
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