This is the main gate to Sheljar is the Grand Entry. Before the Necromancer and the Tunneling Nightmares, the Grand Entry would see thousands enter and start the gentle switchbacks down the 500-foot cliffside. There is a massive waterfall from the river the road from Telse follows at this point. Stone gates covered in glass guard the switchback path down to the bog city. There are a couple rickety, but new, cable lines that run from a secondary gate to two separate bog-isles. There is also a rapid descent used by climbing and flying companions.
Back to the Grand Entry to the Free City of Sheljar.
Once through the gates the vantage point shows all of the bog-city and its surroundings, when the fogs aren’t covering the lowlands. There are four paths available, three personalities and a few things that someone new to the region is sure to remember.
- The switchbacks have a low stone or wood edge with ropes every foot up for 5 feet along the outer edge. There are posts every eight to ten feet. The once cobbled stones are frequently loose.
- The river is low and slow, heading from the communities to the south by southheast, and what is now the shell of an active volcano. When the volcano erupted there was a mudflow the ripped through the old barriers preventing barges and rivercraft from going over the cliff.
- The main cable runs from the left of the river, if you are facing the cliff looking out over the bog-city, to the large island near the northern edge of the bog that has the old city center with the library of Sheljar, the palace, and a few other government buildings.
- The second cable heads out towards the northwest and the former suburb that is now where the goblins settled prior to the Free City being freed.
- Guardian Bilth Ferien – wrapped in the cloak of the free city Bilth is a former ferryman who now is the senior government representative at the Grand Entry. His animal companion is a massive horned ox. A human, likely with some goliath in his ancestry, Bilth is 6’9″ tall and wields a staff only a fool would call quarter. The are five other guards with him in daylight hours. Bilth is strong and enduring.
- Cablemistress Shelmigarii – a tiny goblin, Shelmigarii runs the cable system. She always has either a wrench or hammer in one hand. Aiding her are a crew of four mulgoblins (bugbears) Her hobgoblin husband often runs the nightshift. They are all done up in oilcloth and canvas with big floppy hats common for Kon. Shel is smart and charismatic.
- Fek – a gnome fascinated both by the functioning cable system and by near-constant stream of Kin-ish returnees with their animal companions, Fek is slightly in the way, not helping. They are always taking notes in their notebooks. They clearly are able to cast spells, but none have seen it happen yet. They are smart and dexterous.
- The stone of the main gates is covered in colored glass baubles from Bel’an’faire off to the far south. These baubles can glow in the sunshine and now with magic’s return are frequently lit at night.
- A giant statue, with a head level to the top of the cliffm can be seen at the edge of the harbor except on the foggiest days. From behind it is humanoid in the clothing of ancient Sheljar prior to it being the center of an empire, roughly 3,000 years old.
- There is a frequent fog over the bog-city, hovering about 25-50 feet above the islands. Once called the Stench of Sheljar it is now purely natural, hiding the extent of occupation from those along the cliffs or at sea.
- The gobkon on the cables are surrounded by mountain goats and scavenging birds. None are animal companions. These will follow people who choose to climb down the sheer cliff.
I’m doing Dungeon 23, but instead of making a megadungeon, I’m using it to expand my campaign world (some are calling this World23), but do so in a way that could be relevant to my players. I guess it will be a point-crawl-ish 23. Sometimes those points will be five-room dungeons. Sometimes they will be cities. There will always be paths between them, peoples population them, and peculiar memorable features.
What is Dungeon23?
Dungeon23 is a daily writing practice that is built around game design. Every day the participant will design another room in a dungeon, and at the end of the week they will have a complete level. The next week starts the process over until you have 52 dungeon levels. Sean McCoy of Tuesday Knight Games, the press behind the award-winning TTRPG, Mothership created the challenge almost on accident, with a tweet about his newest project and an image of his notebook. But the indie TTRPG scene is nothing if not excitable and easily swayed by a challenge, and McCoy’s personal goal quickly gained traction across Twitter.Linda Codega in Gizmodo
Most importantly at Full Moon Storytelling, everything will be built with my players in mind (as SlyFlourish suggests for cities), because backstory without tablestory is a novel. The paths will help determine my next entry in Dungeon 23, the peoples (which could also include monsters) are created using my notecard NPS system, the peculiars are so that players have a hook to remember.
4 thoughts on “Grand Entry to the Free City of Sheljar”
What path do you take into the city?
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I like this! I had toyed with doing an overland dungeon23 but ultimately decided that I just didn’t have the time to spare. What are you using to generate your hex map? That’s gorgeous.
The hex map was from the Hex All Things project by Fantastic Maps. He’s since put the project on hiatus. I miss it quite a bit.