Cities of Ghost

Metallum Aeternum

Just and Azadae return with couple different missives from Lambra Helarc’s newly-appointed internal “Ministers of Information”. One of the missives is actually just a meta-message introducing the Ministry itself as a means for the general population to interface with the family, an activity that was impossible under Drinnus’ rule, or so the message claims. The Ministry has hours listed, and of special note is that one of the Ministry’s listed liaisons is Dasma Wansbredt.

The information about the Metallum is all presented as fact, but no sources are cited, and the ministers present at the meeting were unable to provide any, saying only that they were careful to give you just facts, and no conjecture or theory.

They break the Metallum up into three categories: stalks, filaments, and sheets. The stalks are the most important part of a given Metallum entity, and spend all their time collating and distributing information from all the filaments and sheets, making new filaments, and processing input. Stalks get bigger the more their filaments and sheets feed. While the Metallum is a hive mind capable of re-growing itself from even the smallest fragment of a filament, it tends to do most of its information and stimulus processing in the stalk, so destroying the stalk will incapacitate it for a time. This “stun state” can allow the enterprising adventure to collect, destroy, or imprison whatever filaments remain. Stalks are not as mobile as filaments or sheets, and a given Metallum stalk will always be extremely well-hidden, often on a completely different planet or plane from its associated filaments and sheets.

The filaments are the smallest living pieces of Metallum anyone is likely to encounter “in the wild”. They typically appear as insect-like forms varying in size from a handful of centimeters long to several meters long, but this is not their native form, it is only their most effective combat form against humanoids, and thus the form in which they are most often seen. When not fighting, The filaments much more closely resemble the name we have given them; they are incredibly long and so thin as to be nearly invisible. In this form they earth glide through rock seeking out ores to consume. Once destroyed, filaments can be worked into useful items, but only in a furnace stoked by the amniotic fires of magma dragon eggs.

Sheets are combinations of filaments, and are formed primarily when a given Metallum feels threatened, or needs to operate on a larger scale for whatever reason. Sheets are fast, strong, and stupefyingly dangerous. They can grow to be as large as a planet, though it is not known if that is the limit to their size, or if they just have never needed to get any bigger. Regardless, it is folly to attempt to fight one directly.

As a living silicate outsider, the Metallum has both a soul and an intelligence and thus can be affected by enchantments and other mind magic, though its unique hive mind attributes make it especially resistant to those types of spells. Once a day, any given filament can absorb and/or disenchant a weapon that strikes it. Filaments are very resistant to damage, and weapons that slash or pierce (including bolts and arrows) are next to useless. Force damage is by far the most effective means of fighting them, if one is compelled to do so.

The best way to communicate with a given Metallum entity is via pure telepathy, i.e., telepathy using pure sensory input, rather than language, or by contacting it on the astral plane where neither you nor it may harm one another. The metallum is quite aware of the usefulness of its own flesh, and as such is quite wary of other species, especially those that craft and wield tools.

In addition to simply using Metallum Aeternum flesh as a material from which one can make useful things, it is also possible to use it as an effect multiplier in spells, or as an arcane battery. There is a small number of meta-spells available in the House Helarc Sanctum, but the means for making new ones is lost.

So Called “Consultants” Choose To Fight Against Your Civil Liberties!

Mijha Hakik
Sea Seer contributing editor

Greetings, faithful readers! Mijha here, once again defending the liberties of ALL the citizens of Stormfare, not just the elite. You know I’m always here, digging up the truth from whatever rocks they choose to hide it under, all in service of the common man (or other any other species loyal to Stormfare)! Which brings me to today’s piece. It is well known now that the ruling body of this fine city has chosen to appoint a group known as the consultants in a bid to counter the criminal element of Stormfare. But what do we know about these so called “Consultants?” They are an appointed body of free agents, apparently answerable to no one, working FOR HIRE! Don’t tell me that doesn’t immediately arouse your suspicions right away! And what have they done so far? My sources indicate they’ve chosen to trample over the rights of free citizens local AND abroad! Just recently, they violently interfered with the legitimate religious observations of our citizens, attacking a simple religious ceremony to Qualgorn! And shortly thereafter, they run of to Mamban and get caught red handed by the locals in an attempt to invade and desecrate the properties of tax paying citizens. To make it worse, within the hour they flee back here and immediately abduct another citizen of an allied nation and interrogate him without charges! A merfolk, from right off our own coast, was KIDNAPPED by these loose cannons! And what has happened to him? My contacts with local law enforcement have been suspiciously silent on that regard. I can only hope the inevitable diplomatic incidents resulting from these two events raise the awareness of our “civil” leaders here in Stormfare, as it seems only a matter of time when the Consultants focus their abuses on us, the honest citizens of this city! Always looking out for you, this is Mijha, signing off.

New UoS Hydronomy Building Breaks Ground
Workers undeterred by proximity to scene of recent crime

by Winnie Kyte
Sea Seer University Desk

Undaunted by harrowing proximity to the scene of a recent mass killing of a number of alleged Qualgorn worshipers, Alderwoman Vana Prakkamalhatra took the ceremonial first shovel scoop of dirt out of the ground where the University’s new Hydronomy building is about to begin construction. “This facility will allow our pioneering university staff to conduct research into a number of exciting and difficult topics:” the alderwoman said in a prepared speech, “why are these waters so prone to necromantic infection? How much does the stone underneath us require reinforcements? What are the boundaries of Qualgorn territory and how may we parlay with them to ensure peaceful coexistence? How safe is this water for use in the household, and can it be made safer? These and many other questions can now be pursued literally at sea level.” The remarks drew solid applause from a surprisingly large crowd that had gathered on the north cliffs. The building will have several levels built directly into the cliff, and will be able to access both the small cove where the recent event transpired and caverns underneath and around. Construction has begun, but the real digging and structural work won’t start until later this week.

About Stormfare...
General information about the City of Storms

From the marshy roads leading to the main city gates in the northeast and southeast, to the wharf district down at the ocean’s edge, Stormfare is wet. Moist, sloshy, damp, soggy. Wet. Due to its location on the southern half of a large atoll, the currents and clouds of the ocean tend to get sort of “stuck” over Stormfare, and, lacking any better enterprise with which to busy themselves while in this interminable holding position, they rain.

A typical day in Stormfare begins with a clear, bright sunrise. The extreme angles of light allow the first rays of morning to sneak under the cloud cover, baffling the city’s residents with their blinding glow. The confusion doesn’t last, however, as the sun soon climbs above the cloudline, leaving the city bathed in its usual wash of grey.

The clouds begin misting early on, and this fine mist gives way to actual rain around morning tea-time. Sometime after lunch a real downpour usually begins, settling quickly into a cold, drenching rain that goes until dinner time. There is sometimes a second brief appearance of the sun as it sets behind the hills in the west.

Because of the constant presence of precipitation, the entire city of Stormfare has been built up in such a way that it resembles a man in a coat and rain cloak, with his hood pulled up over his head and his shoulders hunched up against the spray of cold water issuing forth from the sky. Buildings are mostly stout and round, with good, thick roof tiles and generous gutters and downspouts leading to gutters on the ground that are so wide and well-fortified they may as well be called trenches. Most are made of high-qaulity dwarven stonework. Windows tend to be small and round and thick, and every building has a wide and warm mud room inside the front door with plenty of places to hang dripping coats.

The interiors of most buildings are painted subdued but cheery colors, and have many paintings, artifacts, books, boardgames and pets scattered about the place, anything to help keep people’s minds focused, calm, and active. 
The citizens of Stormfare are a varied lot; all races are welcome and present in remarkably equal amounts, with halflings having perhaps a slight edge in total numbers, but only a slight one. It is this excellent blending of all peoples’ perspectives that many say has led to the extraordinary quality of life in Stormfare, especially in the face of such constantly gloomy weather.

The hot beverages of Stormfare deserve special and particular mention. Stews, soups, tea, coffee and klah are all made and brewed for maximum impact, and are delicious beyond compare; they warm the body and soul alike, and in the case of the caffeinated beverages are quite bracing, elevating and enervating the mind. Klah brewed in Stormfare has been known to have actual medicinal properties, it’s so good.

Geographically, the city starts down by the oceanside at the wharf, through ramshackle and weatherbeaten warehouses and inns, itinerant taverns and docks, all seemingly carved from the same giant husk of greyish driftwood. The back alleys are dirt or cobbled, whatever is most convenient for those who use them most. The alleys expand into streets heading up University Hill to the North, leading to the massive and sprawling University of Stormfare itself, its buildings indistinguishable from the civilian structures around it, homes and bookstores and theatres and coffeeshops. SO MANY coffeeshops. Going from the wharf straight east leads one up Swallow Hill to the tree-lined streets of the more residential neighborhoods. South, Traitor’s Hill leads to the market district, a riot of colliding shops and storefronts, each doing its gaudy best to get attention from the inevitably ducking and rushing passersby all eager to get in from the rain, or get on to where they’re going.

Evil Sea-Creature Ceremony Stopped
Consultants credited with ending Qualgorn rite

by Will Shemlast
Sea Seer Special Editor

Several dozen wicked worshippers of the foul Qualgorn learned this past Saturday just what it means to run afoul of Stormfare’s favorite fighters of evil. Witnesses report the undead hunter Jon Tallstag and the Bringer of Light Alanil arrived on the scene together, coming bravely up from under the water, and immediately set about destroying the hideous totem constructed on the shore of spirit bay in a cave at the base of the Prefect’s cliff, not a quarter-mile from the causeway. As Tallstag and Alanil were putting an end to whatever black sacrament the would-be alien-lovers were attempting to convene, the great crafting cleric Tor’Dal and his comely companion Braos appeared on the cliffside to provide support.

Reports from the surviving aberrants are muddled, but it sounds like the Consultants arrived just before any evil magic was unleashed, and were able to preemptively put down any resistance that might have arrived, leaving a dozen of these twisted cultists dead and many more severely injured. Given the sick state of the minds of these people, it’s difficult to credit anything they might say as being at all close to the truth, but after investigating the scene, this reporter was able to piece together the preceding scenario.

Floor Plan of Tor'Dal's Temple

Main floor:

Lower levels:

Upper levels

Stormfare Elite Prepare for Mamban Trip, Holiday
Aristocrats excited for bi-annual fête, promise new business

by Marshallea Alexandratta
Sea Seer Society desk

In two days’ time, many of the city’s most celebrated aristocrats, nobles, and entrepreneurs will all make a pilgrimage south to Mamban for the famous All Delves’ Ball, a party hosted in the Center City at a secret location known only to invitees and revealed only minutes before the party begins. At this glorious event, which this humble reporter has been lucky enough to attend all five times this past decade, all the greatest Houses and Families from all over the Land gather to collude, ally, and liaise for the betterment of all. At this gathering in particular, it is expected to be announced by House del Luna that Lambra Helarc will ascend to the Matronhood of her House following the unfortunate death of her Patron, Drinnus. It is also anticipated that greater protections will be announced for the coastal trade routes in advance of more frequent and larger shipping sorties between Mamban and Stormfare.

I will be sending dispatches from the fête, so expect updates as the event carries on.

"Ki Vampires" Returned to Normal
Bewildered citizens grateful, but how did this happen?

by Sat Gish
Stormfare Sea Seer City Desk

As the dozens of Stormers who fell victim to the recent outbreak of Ki-based vampirism integrate themselves back into their lives and try to fill in the gaps in their memory, they find themselves asking the inevitable; “How was this allowed to happen? And why? And who did it?”

While we have the alacritous response of The Consultants to thank for developing a cure for this hitherto-unknown disease within just a few short days of its appearance, the constabulary is now engaged with determining how it came to be in our midst. Thus far, trace amounts of magically enhanced infectious agents have been found in the ground water of Bog Hill, but not nearly enough to have caused something like this. Some witnesses claim to have seen beings come down from the heights shortly before this happened, but authorities say they do not yet have sufficient evidence to bring anyone in for questioning, and investigations are ongoing.

No More Leads In Murdered Inquisitor Case

by Baleen Panache
special to the Stormfare Sea Seer

Police Investigations into the death of Brother Norcross Hammerheart, Inquisitor of Torag, have halted for the time being says Detective-Inspector Gerlow SeBrett of the Stormfare constabulary. Hammerheart was killed under extremely suspicious circumstances, his body having been disintegrated with little evidence left behind and a great many suspects at large. Detective-Inspector SeBrett is on record saying that while they have many suspects, they don’t yet have sufficient information to narrow the field, or get a warrant to bring anyone in for further questioning.

Brother Hammerheart had become known lately as the city’s most vocal opponent to the large expansion of the Calistrian Temple downtown.

"Eox Council" Powers Extended!
Prefect Approves, Consultants to Target Stormfare Underworld

by Baleen Panache
special to the Stormfare Sea Seer

In a surprise announcement delivered at this morning’s city all-council meeting, Alderwoman Vana Prakkalmahatra declared her intent to re-focus the attentions of the so-called “Eox Consultants” from the undead problems in Spirit Bay to the criminal underworld right here in Stormfare. The consultants were originally retained with the specific purpose of keeping the city safe during Eox’s approach and rendering Spirit Bay safe for habitation. After accomplishing this mission, they then retreated from the public eye to return to their own activities, but have now been reactivated and thrust once again into the limelight.

The Alderwoman, speaking to a full chamber with a polymorphed Prefect Van-Seerien standing behind her, said that certain elements of the city’s crime families had conspired with others to establish a slave trade, which she said will “not be tolerated in a city that treasures freedom and opportunity as much as Stormare does”. She also alluded to nefarious activities in the shipping lanes between here and Mamban, and unwelcome activities in the underground of Traitor’s Hill and Bog Hill.

While the speech and decree were alike met with thunderous applause, this reporter did hear mutterings among the other city alders wondering why this was suddenly a priority.


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