Monday, March 13, 2017

Kasatha Caravanserai

Spinning off of yesterday's article about storyline implications, here's a writeup for a native outpost on a far-flung, "weird" world.


Kasatha Caravanserai
This structure stands in the middle of a broad desert, an area traversed by numerous shobadh caravans as they go about their business. Additionally, the structure includes numerous pools of water in separated areas, laid out so that visiting aetherships can also land their cargo and passengers. 

 Each of the circular areas is a landing pit, one that is filled with water so that aetherships and boats have a place to land. These are square areas closed off by thirty-foot-high walls made of stone. In the middle of each is a pool of water some twenty feet deep and more than a hundred feet in diameter. These pools provide a place for aetherships to land, as well as a source of water for visiting shobadh caravan drives to water their reptiloid mounts.

 In the center of the caravanserai is a broad, open marketplace covered by a cloth canopy, known as the Suq. There, crews from the visiting aetherships lay out their goods for sale, as do shobhad nomads with their visiting reptiloid caravans. Additionally, various entertainers of a more or less family-friendly nature put on distracting displays, inviting spectators to pay hard-earned coins for such diversions. In the middle of it all is an open well, the source of water for the entire caravanserai.

Adventure Hooks for the Kasatha Caravanserai
There are many ways in which this desert watering hole can be worked into space fantasy adventures and campaigns; just a few of the possibilities are listed here.
  • The source of the caravanserai's water is not a well, but a decanter of endless water provided by the elves. If that were ever stolen, the settlement would face a catastrophe.
  • While such a gift as the decanter, given by the elves to the kasatha monks, might seem quite generous, it is indeed a small price to pay. That is because the elves alone of anyone from the Sol System know that this planet is the source of materials for making black powder. That, in fact, is what the shobhad nomads gather in their endless journey through the desert.
  • Needless to say, if word of that alchemical discovery was leaked to the rest of the galaxy, then many other powers—especially the Dwarven Mining Guild and the Royal Interplanetary Company—would compete in trying to harness it aboard their own aetherships or to take control of trading such a valuable commodity.
  • That is, in part, why the elves train elite squads of musketeers on this world, both to learn under the expert tutelage of the shobhad, and to protect the secret weapon.
  • The caravanserai is a truly cosmopolitan location, a place in which the PCs could meet all manner of alien creatures, perhaps witch-wyrd merchants, a mercane scholar, mi-go explorers, xill spies, a curious polymorphed outer dragon, etc.
  • When a poisoned missile hits one of the shobhad's reptiloid mounts, it goes on a rampage; it is up to the PCs first to help calm or incapacitate the wounded beast, and then to discover for whom that deadly attack was really intended.
  • One enduring mystery is why the shobhad, who inhabit this planet far from Homeworld, share a common language with other giants. Some scholars claim that they are all the offspring of mortals like humans and kasatha and immortal beings such as angels and azata—but that can't be true, can it?


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