Sorry about the irregular updates recently, I don’t know when I’m going to be updating as usual, but please hang in there.
Anyway, onto today’s update!
Deephaven, or Lansharlus as it is known by the forest-folk, is a city built into the stalactites and stalagmites of a naturally occurring cavern. As with all their colonies, the forest-folk merely repurposed the local environment to suit their purposes, focussing their efforts on fortifying what was already there to better defend against the monsters which live within the Starspire Forest.
As one of the forest-folk’s oldest colonies, Deephaven is afforded a special respect and being assigned to the Granite Guard, it’s standing military and judicial force, is seen as a great honour for especially promising soldiers. Whilst their duties often take them away from the city for long periods of time, the highly trained members of the Granite Guard are treated as a breed apart by many of the Bright Shield and it is not uncommon for junior members of the Guard to be punished for expecting experienced officers of the Bright Shield to follow their orders.
Unusually, the Granite Guard counts no small number of outlaws among its members. Because of the extreme danger involved in patrolling the underground passages around Deephaven, alert for incursions by the Midnight Kin and the other monsters who dwell beneath the earth, the Granite Guard welcomes any who prove able and trustworthy. It is for this reason that forest-folk from elsewhere in the Starspire Forest avoid Deephaven for the most part. It is a place of both ancient respect and transgressing customs, a hidden city where all the peoples of the forest are forced to live in harmony to survive against the greater threats that dwell in the darkness.
Because of this necessity, the people of Deephaven are very cosmopolitan and welcoming of outsiders. Their livelihoods depend upon the constant flow of trade from the surface which is brought into the city along a three-mile long tunnel known as the Deep Way. Being posted to serve as one of the Deep Way’s guards is seen as either a punishment, for younger members of the Granite Guard, or as a reward for long years of service. Either way, visitors to the city have equal odds of their first encounters with the venerable military force being either rude and antagonistic, or respectful and welcoming.
Whilst the city depends on the outside world for most of its food, many vast lakes can be found within its walls which provide its inhabitants with fresh water and a plentiful supply of fish, algae and luminescent water-plants. Its main export is the rare coralite ore mined from the veins running beneath the city.
Coralite is used by many of the forest-folk’s enchanters to aid in the creation of magical weapons and many scholars believe the city’s abnormally high percentage of magic users (many of whom join the Granite Guard or travel elsewhere in the forest as a member of the Bright Shield) can be attributed to the proximity of vast quantities of the ore. Living so close to the coralite mines is not without its dangers, however, and many twisted creatures find their way into the mines through hidden passageways and it is rare that a month goes by without a skirmish breaking out in the tunnels around the city as a raid by the Midnight Kin pushes against the Granite Guard in an attempt to secure some of the valuable resource.
Because of its nature as a necessarily militaristic city, many of the roads within the cavern are narrow and winding, easily blocked by any of the ready-built barricades held at select chokepoints and constantly maintained. Whilst it has no formal districts as such, many of the city’s residents live among a cluster of stalagmites in the middle of the cavern known as the Earth’s Talons and the city holdfast is built into the single stalactite at the centre of the formation.
Raelos Harlen is the head of the Granite Guard and a serious man given to bouts of melancholy and pessimism. A life of protecting his city has left him unskilled in dealing with outsiders and there are rumours that he will step down soon. For the moment, he is engaged in a 5-year program of constructing additional guard-posts and checkpoints in the tunnels around the city to create an additional layer of protection.
Mivellion Lusca is a refugee from the Midnight Kin. The colour of her skin betrays her heritage and many within the city treat her with extreme caution. Despite this, she has become much respected among the miners she works with for her ability to excavate coralite ore swiftly and safely, and more than a few owe their lives to her tireless efforts during the infrequent cave-ins.
Hallan Yas came to the city as an outsider, a treasure hunter eager for glory and renown, and quickly found themselves in the darkness. Now, they hold the seat of Lushar (Deep Ruler in the common tongue), a position they have held for nearly two decades of regular elections and civic duties. Most of the people of Deephaven respect Yas and their programs of civic improvement and some of the recent raids seem to have been targeting Yas instead of the coralite mines.
Gunther Vas was a respected merchant in another life. Now, he lives in a small house carved into the rock near one of the fishing lakes. An escaped slave, he stumbled onto the Deep Way as he outran his outlaw captors and the city administrators use his expertise as one of the desert-folk (a people known for their masonry skills) to carve out new buildings from the living rock of their city and construct even stronger fortifications.
Yasmin Lance found safety in the arms of the city as she ran from Wilhelm’s Retreat. Originally a citizen of Shearmouth, she learned the magical arts at the Scaled College there and was expelled when her criminal activities came to light. Fleeing the authorities, she carved out a prestigious position within the Retreat and enjoyed her new life for many years. Now middle-aged, and having reflected upon her past acts for too long, she seeks to better the lives of others and uses her skills to enchant the weapons of the Granite Guard and improve the lives of the people of Deephaven.
Spies from the Midnight Kin have recently been caught infiltrating the city and their interrogations have revealed the presence of a plot to topple the Granite Guard and weaken the city’s defences. Raelos Harlen hasn’t the manpower to spare to investigate the matter further but is willing to pay for assistance.
A series of recent cave-ins have blocked off large sections of the coralite mines. Many of the miners claim to be able to hear survivors fighting for their lives beyond the blocked passages.
Several visiting dignitaries were overheard discussing future relations with the city at a civic banquet. Hallan Yas is eager to promote good relationships and will pay the PCs to help in any way they can.
Gunther Vas has put out a call for adventurers to find a rare metal ore needed to strengthen the latest round of fortifications.
Someone has been stealing coralite supplies from the city’s enchanters, in such quantities that they suspect ill intent.