Adventures in Stormreach
Population: Humans and half-elves, who are outnumbered by visitors of other races.
Character: Bustling and dangerous.
Businesses: Shipping, crime, taverns, and fishing. 3,000 gp limit.
Key Personalities: Storm Lord Jonas Wylkes, Berrigan Enge, Harbormaster Zin, Lord Katanavash, Maeran Mendyrian, Thaera, and Three-Fingered Thad.
It stinks here. All harbors stink, but this—this is something special.
All of Stormreach’s great sewers, pipes, and drains lead, ultimately, to the harbor. The effluent doesn’t seem to worry the wildlife; there’s plenty of fish on sale for a hungry traveler. You’re just not sure that you’d want to eat them.
Away from the chaos and business of the harbor, the city rises uphill and in from the shore. From down here it looks as if toy soldiers have come to life and settled in a ruined city, and above it all stands a great statue, staring out to sea, a beam of light shining up from its outstretched hands.
Overheard in the Harbor
“Hello, sailor. Fresh off the boat, are you? Why not come with me and spend some of that hard-earned coin? You look like you need a rest, and I know just the place, right down this alley…”
“You so much as look at Aida again, and the next time we take you for a little dip in the harbor, you’ll be wearing iron shackles chained to a rock. Are we clear? Good lad.”
Like every other part of Stormreach, the Harbor district is built on the bones of the past. The city ever was and ever will be a port, and time and tides have pushed the harbor farther and farther into the city, as neighborhoods have sunk or been washed away.
The harbor is Stormreach’s lifeblood, for the city relies on trade and its status as a free port, where rules are lax as long as you have enough coin. Without the harbor, Stormreach would be stranded and quickly die. Aside from taverns and a few shops, most of the district’s businesses concentrate on loading and unloading vessels and storing cargo.
For the visitor, the Harbor district is a cold plunge into Stormreach. The city’s corruption, competing powers, and ancient mysteries all have examples here. Some travelers disembark and then book passage back to Khorvaire as quickly as they can. Some never leave, thrilled at the city’s liveliness and danger, while some disappear—until fishers pull their bodies from the harbor.
Crypt of the Guard
The Crypt of the Guard was built a hundred years ago to honor the dead of the Stormreach Guard. This turned out to be a backhanded compliment; traitors were buried alongside heroes, and the crypt was built too close to the water.
Lack of upkeep and regular water damage make the crypt an unpleasant place to visit, and it has been raided by Emerald Claw necromancers in need of undead muscle. Guards today try to save enough money to be buried elsewhere, so the crypt has become the pauper’s option.
If you’re after healing potions, antitoxin, or a healer’s kit in the Harbor district, you have one option: Dagoward’s Apothecary. Some say Nalia Dagoward has used underhanded methods to run competitors out of the district.
Nalia’s prices are low, but you get what you pay for. Each month she has 5 potions of cure light wounds and 2 potions of cure moderate wounds , and her prices are 10% below list. But each potion purchased from Nalia must be prefixed as “Nalia’s” on your character sheet as they may function strangely. She has enough beds for three people to get bed rest, at 1 gp per night (covered by standard cost of living).
The Emperor (4)
On the cliffs above the harbor stands a great statue, palms together and with a great beam of light rising from its outstretched hands. Scholars believe this is a statue of Emperor Cul’sir from the Age of Giants. Although the general populace has no idea who Cul’sir was, everyone refers to the statue as the Emperor. It radiates an overwhelming magical aura, and despite many wizards’ efforts to discern its purpose, it remains a mystery.
Hammer and Chain
Across the square from the Riedran consulate, the Hammer and Chain is a capable armor and weapon shop. Locals go to Three-Fingered Thad for cheap repairs and reclaimed goods, but the Hammer and Chain provides more upscale services, including masterwork armor and weapons.
Harbormaster’s House (5)
Harbormaster Zin oversees the day-to-day minutiae of running the harbor for the Harbor Lord. Everything that is beneath the lord’s notice is run through Zin, a middle-aged and overworked halfling.
Zin’s house is large and is partly a public building, where captains pay their dues, get charts, or make arrangements for their cargo. The house commands a good view of the harbor, allowing the harbormaster to keep an eye on the docks.
Leaky Dinghy (6)
The Leaky Dinghy is a rotting, rat-infested, creaking mess of a tavern in the area of the docks called Fisher’s Folly, an unsafe mishmash of rigging, fishing boats, and huts that is home to many of the city’s fishers.
A hangout for sailors, fishers, and thrill seekers, the Dinghy persists only because of the love its patrons have for the place, keeping it alive despite the best efforts of storm and rot to destroy it. The tavern’s survival against storms has become an occasion for celebrations, with parties being held in the swaying structure during the severest storms.
Sahuagin come to the Dinghy looking to be hired as guides for ships crossing the Thunder Sea, and the tavern offers dishes specifically for these sea devils. Adventurous members of other races, and the extremely drunk, sometimes give this food a try, but the raw and wriggling nature of the meals leads to very distressed stomachs.
Many young adventurers have blamed the Leaky Dinghy’s famed Squid Stew to be the source of the dreaded Sudden Stormreach Sickness Syndrome, otherwise known as Quad-S or Stormreach Fever (see House Rules). The Squid Stew is on the menu every night at the Leaky Dinghy, although its day-to-day change in taste leaves some to believe it might not be made of squid at all.
On a small rocky island in the harbor stands Stormreach’s lighthouse, another remnant of ancient giant architecture and magic. Believed to be almost as old as the Emperor, the lighthouse’s gleaming crystal slowly turns, casting its light out to sea and then across the city.
Strangely, the lighthouse building does not contain any rooms or stairs, being made of solid stone, except for the ground floor and cellars. These chambers have been claimed by Eldamir Fallowcrest, who maintains them as his private haven and library.
A short walk from the Wavecrest Tavern, the Riedran consulate is home to the Inspired consul, Lord Katanavash, and his staff. Most Riedran sailors see Stormreach as proof of all the horrible stories about humans beyond Riedra and prefer to remain on their ships when in port. Merchants stay at the consulate for the minimum time required to transfer their goods; they leave the business of trading to the consul and his staff.
Shargon’s Talon (8)
Those who seek proof of the exotic nature of Stormreach need look no farther than the harbor, where a slender stone tower rises out of the water. Its shape is more reminiscent of a stalagmite than a worked building, but the continual flames illuminating its narrow windows suggest otherwise. This is the temple of the Devourer, known to the locals as Shargon’s Talon. Followers of the Sovereign Host occasionally make sacrifices to the Devourer when natural disasters threaten, but the congregation of the Talon places the Devourer above all other gods. The doctrine of this sect holds that it was the Devourer alone who defeated the fiends of the first age, and that the force of this battle raised the lands above the sea. The faithful are taught to embrace the fury of nature, preparing for the time when the Devourer will scour the earth and draw all back beneath the waves. The holy texts also speak of devouring the strength of fallen foes; though it’s possible to read these literally, most of the faithful would never go so far as to practice cannibalism.
One of the more unusual aspects of the cult of the Devourer is the fact that emissaries from the local sahuagin often participate in the sacred rituals. These priests consider humans to be flawed cousins, stripped of scale and weak of lung, but they pity these humans and consider it an act of charity to help them find the right path.
Members of this sect are expected to be skilled swimmers, and although some take rowboats out to the Talon, swimming the distance is considered an act of devotion and earns one a Signet of the Devourer.
Combining the functions of consulate, inn, and temple, Thaendyr’s Rest is the city’s little piece of Aerenal. Located near the wall between the Harbor district and the Graystone ward, the Rest caters to Aereni and their companions and is run by the elf Thaera. Maeran Mendyrian is the resident Undying Court priest and de facto consul.
Sloping out beneath the waves of the harbor lie just as many ancient ruins as in the city proper. Obscured by seaweed and covered in mussels and barnacles, these ruined arches and buildings provide homes for sahuagin and other creatures of the deep. This makes many citizens nervous and leads the dragonmarked houses and the Stormreach Guard to keep a wary eye on the harbor.
Looming over the mouth of the Koronoo River that flows into the harbor, the Waterworks are a mix of ancient sewerage and more recent pipes, the largest of which dumps effluent into the harbor. Behind the pipes and steam vents stand sealed iron doors, which lead into the kobold-infested sewers.
The giants built everything big, and the vaulted sewer system is no exception. As one travels deeper and deeper into it, it gets older and, eventually, ties into the buried buildings of the old city. The deepest tunnels are home to things more dangerous, and more disturbing, than kobolds.
Wavecrest Tavern (10)
Despite no longer being at sea, Sigmund Bauerson runs a tight ship at the Wavecrest Tavern. The Wavecrest is, unusually for the area, a drinking hole of good repute and some class, despite being a little rough around the edges. The inn hosts a popular arm wrestling tournament each week.
The Wavecrest was built atop caves beneath the current waterline, and someone listening at the floorboards can hear the water surging beneath. A short while ago, a cave-in cut off the inn’s cellar from these caves, but it is only a matter of time before subsidence opens them up again.
The Dwarven sellsword Norrum Axehandle can be found working here as a bouncer when he is between adventures.
On the south side of the Koronoo River, not far from the Waterworks, the Wayward Lobster is a carousing place for those who fancy themselves scoundrels. The tavern’s clientele—pickpockets, smugglers, burglars, and people who plan crime but never commit it—is afflicted with delusions of grandeur. Under the influence of gin, they devise elaborate schemes, only to forget them the next morning. Still, a few actual crimes have been hatched in the tavern.