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A Brief Overview of the Rock of Bral: Scroll II
Politics & Power
Officially, Bral is an unchartered monarchy. Officially, the prince is the ultimate authority. In practice, there are several governing bodies. There is a Council of the City, which has 30 representatives of the city neighborhoods who are appointed for life. The Councilmen serve as advisors to the prince. Hypothetically, they can overrule the Prince by a unanimous vote, but it has never happened.

There is also the Noble Council, with all 37 chartered landowners as members. (Thus, I sat on this council, though we rarely ever met.) This Council, by majority vote, can disenfranchise any other landowner. Notably, the prince, as a landowner, sits on the council, and his vote alone counts as 49%, meaning again, that it would take a unanimous vote to overturn any decision he made to disenfranchise.

A final council is the Council of Captains, composed of any individual or company owning five or more spelljamming vessels and owning or leasing land on the Rock. This council is responsible for the regulation of trade and is, by far, the most powerful of the three councils, as Andru only has a tie-breaking vote, though he may veto decisions.

There are three magistrates, one for each major section of the city. These magistrates have troops at their disposal if needed; however, there is no regular city watch; no one keeps order in the streets. The only time that the law gets involved is if someone seeks a magistrate out and asks them to. This is often considered not worth the time and effort, so most criminals are dealt with by other means, such as hired guards. The city, essentially, polices itself.

An exception to this rule is arson, but it goes beyond that — anyone caught starting a fire might be lynched on the spot. If turned in to authorities, the minimum penalty would be ten years of hard labor in the Underside fields. Why so strict a rule? Remember that the Rock only has a limited air supply. Starting a fire risks fouling or depleting the atmosphere in addition to the risk of destroying the city. If a citizen needs light, she uses magical or alchemical means. If she needs heat, she puts on more clothes and waits for Toril to stop blocking the sun.

The punishments on the Rock of Bral are steep, even though sentencing is rare. Shoplifting earns a year of forced labor, but you are more likely to be killed first by shop guards or else pay off the magistrate for 500 gold pieces. Smuggling earns five years labor, but you are more likely to be found to have "accidentally neglected to declare customs." Arson earns you being jettisoned, which is the most common form of capital punishment.

Bral considers itself a neutral entity in matters of Realmspace politics, which it must do if it is to remain a center of trade. Its military exists to protect the Rock itself from invasion and pirate raids. The fact that the Rock of Bral has maintained its neutrality speaks more to the diplomatic skill of Prince Andru than to the power of his navy. While Andru has not formed a direct alliance with the elves, he grants the Elven Imperial Navy landing rights. The only race Andru seems hesitant to deal with are the neogi. (The neogi, in case Your Majesty did not know, are a despicable race of wildspace, which I might describe as a crossing between eels and giant spiders.)

Coinage & Commerce
The city has countless shops, such as my own curio shop, which, as you know, the King once visited with the old sage himself. Beyond the many shops, Bral has two open marketplaces, much like the Queen's Market in Darromar. The Great Market is the larger and tends to be a place to display the newest off-Rock shipments and items too large to fit indoors. The smaller "Thieves' Market", as might be expected, is a place to find all manner of blackmarket goods. Andru has thus far done nothing to stifle the trade flowing through the Thieves' Market. It is rumored that one can find goods from a hundred different worlds in the markets of Bral, a slight exaggeration perhaps.

There are four classes of traders: the trading companies, the merchant houses, small merchants (such as myself), and independent captains. The trading companies are large entities based on multiple worlds. Merchant houses are smaller and are usually run by a family, usually one of the noble families of Bral.

Bral is not picky about coinage. It accepts coins from at least 30 different countries and multiple worlds. The merchants refuse, however, any paper currency.

Most everything mundane costs about half again as much as it might in Tethyr. In an appendix, I will list typical prices and wages as I recall them for everyday items and services.

Air on the rock is free to citizens, but there is an air tax for docking vessels.

Since the Rock cannot get any bigger, land is expensive, especially to own, but even to rent. When I left, there was an 18-month waiting list for commercial rental property.

The following section has been stricken.

The Rock has only been populated by humans for a couple hundred years. Evidence exists that it was originally used as an illithid outpost some 800 years ago. Presumably, the illithids — or even an earlier race — created its gravity plane. It appears that the illithids were then exterminated by a beholder colony who then annihilated themselves in infighting. Next came a dwarven clan. Archeological evidence suggests that they vanished mysteriously, with sword blades still on their anvils. No satisfactory theory has been proposed at what happened to them.

Finally, 170 years ago, a spacepirate by the name of Captain Bral made the Rock his hideout. He took the time to "seed" it with plants and trees and lived within its caverns. A charismatic leader, he gathered a band of corsairs, the Black Brotherhood to him, and his hideout grew into a lawless, raucous-filled town.

Bral had numerous bounties on his head for his crimes of piracy, and he eventually died in an ambush orchestrated by the elven star navy, about 10 years after he discovered his asteroid home. During his wild party of a wake back on the Rock, the surviving Black Brotherhood pirates named the town in his honor.

Approximately 60 years passed with Bral being nothing more than an anarchy. However, over that time, more and more brave merchants came to live there. They could make a lot of money from the loot-spending, gambling, entertainment-seeking pirates. Most pirates were not concerned by the change, but one wise captain named Cozar recognized this as an opportunity. Cozar systematically used his stolen gold to purchase every lot of land from the merchants. Those who opposed him were simply bought out, with promises of free leases to them and their descendants. Within a year, with the exception of a few powerful holdouts, Cozar essentially owned the whole asteroid. (The few others who still owned land would eventually become the nobility of Bral.)

After this, Cozar "evicted" any pirate competitor who could not pay a lease for a home or a legitimate business. Cozar had made himself prince of Bral. He created a "Royal Charter" and even wrote up a code of law. To the surprise of the pirates who did not attempt to rebel against their new prince, it turned out that a life of trade was more profitable than a life of piracy. By most accounts, Cozar was a wise and good ruler. By the time of his death, the town of Bral was now the merchant spaceport city of Bral.

Bral's son Frun was not like his father. He allowed the city to slip back into lawlessness, caring only for his own entertainment and pleasure. Thankfully, for Bral, the free market continued to allow her to thrive. To his credit, Prince Frun did delight in building projects, which actually did prove beneficial. He commissioned the Citadel and the Donjon, the former of which was able to defend the Rock of Bral against a neogi fleet. While the Bralians won the day, the neogi did cause great destruction to the Middle City by sending an abandoned dwarven spelljamming craft crashing into the Rock. (Frun turned the wrecked city quarter into a festival ground and used the rubble from the dwarven craft to build an area there.)

I came to the Rock in the Year of the Striking Falcon, while Prince Frun was in the middle of his reign of 35 years.

Frun died in the middle of a great party he had thrown in memory of his father's birthday, having spent most of the royal treasury before his death. His oldest son, Calar, took the throne, and most expected that House Cozar would die out and Bral to return to complete anarchy, as Prince Calar was as decadent as his father. However, six days later, someone jettisoned Prince Calar into space along with the daily rubbish. His younger brother, Andru took the throne. When Calar's wife protested that her son Aric should be prince, Andru rewrote the rules of succession. Andru investigated the assassination and found one of the Underbarons, that is, a crime boss, guilty in collaboration with a contingent of illithids. The supposed assassins were executed.

Prince Andru has now been reigning for 18 years. Despite what was undoubtedly in my mind a corrupt rise to power, Andru's rule may have saved the city from collapsing to anarchy. From the day I moved to Bral to a few years ago when I left to come back to Spellshire, I must admit that the city has become more lawful and peaceful than it had been, which was a welcome change. I leave Your Majesty to decide on the justness of Prince Andru's rule; I simply state the facts as I know them.
Session: 92nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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A Brief Overview of the Rock of Bral: Scroll I
A Brief Overview of the Rock of Bral

Excerpts from a document originally entitled

A Report to Her Majesty on the Rock of Bral

By Lord Gamalon Idogyr
Count of Spellshire & Court Sage of Tethyr

Copied for posterity with permission from the government of Tethyr at the request of Lady Perendra Raslemtar on behalf of High Lady Alustriel.
Certain paragraphs have been stricken without further comment at the request of the Queen of Tethyr as a matter of state security.

Your Majesty,

My most humble greetings to you once again.

At your request, I record here the history and current affairs of the city of Bral and the celestial body upon which it rests, the Rock of Bral. I speak from the experience of my many years spent there as a land-holding noble, so that Tethyr may decide its stance toward the government of Prince Andru. I shall use the same format that I have used in my previous diplomatic reports for the throne.

Ever your servant,
Count Gamalon Idogyr of Spellshire
On the 11th of the month Uktar, the Year of the Unstrung Harp, Year 1585 by the Tethyrreckoning

Here follows the report.

Geography & Climate
The Rock is what scholars of the Sea of Night call an asteroid. A rock is precisely what an asteroid is. This asteroid's length is approximately one mile. It is roughly half a mile in both width and depth, making it a crude ellipsoid. It is not large enough to be identified from Faerûn, but it is with the other Tears of Selûne, following behind her.

The Rock has what we "spelljammers" call its own "gravity plane". Something or someone, at some unknown time ago, used a great magic to create a field of gravity that holds things to its surface just as on our own world of Toril. Only, a gravity plane is flat, not round as Toril is. Gravity on the Rock of Bral — and on all spelljamming craft and on other settlements found in the Tears — has a "top" and a "bottom". "Down" is in completely the opposite direction for someone on the Topside of Bral than for someone on the Underside of Bral. The gravity plane runs lengthwise through the center of the Rock.

The edges of the Rock, between the two sides, are steep like cliffs. Hypothetically, if one fell off the edge — and managed to avoid hitting any outcropping rock — the body would settle (eventually) at the same level as the gravity plane, after falling repeatedly in opposite directions over and and over.

The City of Bral is found on the "upper" half of the Rock. The "lower" half of the Rock is owned by the prince. We call it the Underside. The Underside is primarily farmlands and trees to provide both food and air for the Rock. Here, so-called "servants of the king" — which in actuality are convicted criminals and indentured slaves — keep the fields. These fields can only produce enough food to feed 3,000 people. For this reason, most food is imported from other worlds or from asteroid farms. No livestock are kept on Bral, as it is too expensive. It cost my family of four about 25 gold pieces per month for groceries, despite Mynda's best deal-hunting! (You can see now why she always delighted when your husband, the king, would bring Calishite spices!)

The Underside also contains the Citadel, a battle fortress armed with catapults, ballistae, and bombards to defend the Rock from invasion. Also on the Underside are the Vanes, massive sails used to magically steer the Rock if need be. Finally, the Underside is where the private fleet of the prince is docked.

The edge pointing in the direction of motion around the center of mass of the Tears is called the leading edge. Along this edge lie the docks, which are wooden and appear much like any docks you would find at an ocean port in Myratma or Zazesspur. A massive set of caverns below the docks, at the level of the gravity plane, are used for spelljammers that can land and as a loading dock. Spelljammers that can land may also use Drydock, an open, flat area typically used for repairs and found on the Topside surface.

The city itself is divided into the High City, Middle City, and Low City. The High City is at the trailing edge, literally elevated higher than the rest of Bral, and is where the prince's palace castle sits. It is also separated from the Middle City by a wall and a lake.

The Rock of Bral has a single large lake, uncreatively named Lake Bral, deep enough to cross through the gravity plane, such that it is said to have two surfaces, one on the Topside, and one deep underground in a subterranean cavern. The lake provides most of the water needs for the Rock. Water is purified by filth-eating monsters kept for such purposes. The water is by no means eternal. Every four to seven years, the Bralian Navy must tow an ice asteroid, break it up, and deposit the pieces, one by one, into the lake to melt and provide more water. The process takes months. The city has a superb public water-pumping system, which carries fresh water all the way to the docks.

The Rock has its own "Underdark" of a sort, a maze of caverns throughout its interior, most of which have not been thoroughly explored.

Civilized Races
It is nigh impossible to take an accurate census of the populace, as many visitors and permanent residents alike do not want to be registered, but I would estimate that there are over 12,000 citizens. Humans (including the Shou) are certainly the primary race, but halflings, dwarves, elves, gnomes, and even beholders and illithids call the Rock home. There are also some races that Your Majesty is not likely to know, such as the dracon and the giff, both races from other crystal spheres than our own. Most of these races tend to congregate in their own neighborhoods. Many have official embassies.

(In my humble opinion, if Your Majesty is inclined to begin trade negotiations with Kara-Tur, it could end up more profitable to work through the Shou embassy on Bral than to send diplomats overland through the Hordelands to the eastern end of Toril.)

Social Customs
It is said that courtesy is king on the Rock of Bral, and coin is queen. Warring races set aside their differences and are cordial to each other for the sake of trade. This does not mean that it is wise to wander dark alleys! A mind flayer may not eat your brain when you are trying to sell it something, but if you wander into a dark alley when one is hungry and no one else is around....

Folk are told, first, to mind their own business, and second, that enough gold can fix anything.

The city is always bustling, "night" — when Toril blocks the sun — and "day". It has a rather outlandish collection of citizens, but nearly all "officially" are merchants or work for merchants or are longshoremen. Of course, the city is always packed with visiting sailors and spelljammer crewmen. Walking in the Low City, one finds it hard to breath, it is so crowded. The Middle City, where I kept my shop on the starboard side of the Great Market, is better.

There are few on Bral who are truly poor, as there is always work to be had at the docks, but the nobles living close to the High City live very different lives in their small, luxurious plantations.

Clothing styles on Bral are simple and plain among true natives, even the rich, but one finds a plethora of styles from all of the visitors from many worlds.

There is no official language on the Rock, but as on Toril, most everyone speaks enough Common to get by, albeit with thick accents of all varieties.

Religion in wildspace is... different than on the surface of Toril. For example, the Church of Tyr is strong here, but it would be almost unrecognizable to a visitor from Faerûn. There are also what are called Polygots and Pantheists, which I will not describe here, since I am not a religious scholar. The Church of Ptah is well-established here, even though the god has no following on Toril. I suspect his name has never reached your ears before. There is also the Path and the Way and any number of racial pantheons present.

Nevertheless, there is no state religion, nor does Prince Andru seem to care much for divine matters.

Most of the temples and shrines are clustered around Lake Bral. Oftentimes, temples are devoted to a grouping of related deities rather than one.
Session: 92nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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The Tomb of Dreams
Episode 2.11
1) Interrogation
2) A softer approach
3) Green smoke
4) Drop-off into the river
5) The Chase

A1) Taiphen pursues Gossamer
A2) Finds her in a marketplace being choked out by Niel
A3) Mara offers to help, but Taiphen denies her
A4) Niel's dagger falls

B1) Syn, Northern Light, and Bright Shadow pursue Anzu
B2) He had swum upriver and escaped into the city
B3) Stop pursuit to rest up and make a plan
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De Exilio
Interlude: Library Research: Part II
Szordrin was faring better in this second study, the Cosmology Study. While Solisar likely knew the information that he was learning already, Szordrin had never been taught much about the "worlds above". He knew of the Dawn Heralds, the two stars that could be seen in the mornings, and the Five Wanderers, those stars that seemed to wander about the night sky, but he had never learned their names. After all, he had never even seen the stars until a few years ago.

   Toril was only one of eight worlds circling their sun, the third. The two Dawn Heralds were named Anadia and Coliar. They were closer to the sun than Toril.

   Anadia was said to be a hot, desert world, where life could only thrive at the poles. A race of people related to the hin, the halflings, were said to live there.

   Coliar was a world of floating islands and deep clouds, some of which were inhabited by dragons, others by lizardfolk, and others by a bird-like race called aarakocra.

   Selûne, it was claimed, despite Garth Garthson's doubts, did in fact have residents, unique races of both elves and humans. A warning was given, however, that Selûnians were xenophobic of anyone from Toril.

   The Five Wanderers included Karpi, Chandos, Glyth, Garden, and H'Catha. Karpi and Chandos were water worlds; Glyth was a world with rings and ruled by illithids, brain-sucking mind flayers; Garden was actually a cluster of asteroids sharing an atmosphere and tethered together by massive plant life; and H'Catha was a discworld infested with beholders.

   Szordrin did not have time to read further about the planets; he wanted to know more about the Tears of Selûne. There were hundreds of asteroids making up the Tears, he learned, but only about a dozen were thought large enough to support life. It was hard to find more information about any of them in particular, beyond a few names, such as Dragon Rock and, of course, the Rock of Bral. It seemed like most astronomers and cosmologists of Toril cared little about the planets as worlds with their own histories and thought of them as barely more than fancy stars in the sky. He needed someone who had actually spelljammed and been to one of them, the Rock of Bral in particular.

   As he skimmed the pages, the word "Tethyr" jumped out at him: "The Court Sage of the new kingdom of Tethyr, Gamalon Idogyr of Spellshire, was rumored to have actually lived much of his life on the Rock of Bral." Idogyr, he thought. That name seems familiar....

   "Custodian," he said aloud, "Do you have any works by one Gamalon Idogyr? They would be relatively new, written in the last few years even."


The next store Solisar visited was A Handful of Stars. As the clerk at the Map House has suggested, this place was full of all variety of navigational paraphernalia. The place was candle-lit and cramped, but the Selûnite priestesses working there were very helpful to him. When Solisar left the shop, he had in his possession maps of Faerûn, Toril, and Realmspace, which included the orbits of the other seven planets that shared the same crystal sphere. He also had purchased a kit with a collection of navigational tools, a sextant, a Sembian astrolabe, a compass, and measuring instruments.

   Entering the Market next, on the eastern side of Northbank, Solisar strolled past countless vendors of all the major, peaceful races selling their wares. Upon reaching the other side of the Market, just before entering the religious district, he noted a shop called Mornbright's Dyes. A sign in the window advertised, "The only source of shimmer cloth in the Realms!" Intrigued, Solisar entered and ended up purchasing some as a gift for Ilthian.

   His next stop was the famous Everdusk Hall. Solisar knew that Everdusk Hall was a famous elven temple and house of knowledge for elven genealogies, poetry, history, and philosophy. It was the oldest temple in Silverymoon, existing from before the place was a human settlement. About twenty years ago, news reached as far as Evermeet that it had burned to the ground in a tragic fire, and many artifacts of religious importance to elves were lost forever. The temple, obviously, had been rebuilt, to look almost exactly as it had before. Among humans, it was said that Everdusk Hall was the place to go to learn about elves from elves.

   Solisar found the temple easily enough and stepped into one of the most beautiful buildings he had ever seen on Faerûn. It reminded him of the structures of Evermeet, his elven home. The building was diamond-shaped. The ceiling of the first floor was held up by gorgeously carved beams that looked like growing trees. The marble floor was tiled to look like a sea of clouds.

   The lower chamber was set up as a shrine to each of the members of the Seldarine. Large marble statues of each of the elven gods and goddesses were spaced along the four walls.

   Solisar was snapped out of his trance-like state of admiration by a male voice greeting him. "Welcome to Everdusk Hall, my brother, the site of the oldest temple in Silverymoon. May you find the friendship of lost Myth Drannor here." The speaker was a sun elf like he, dressed in the finest garb.

   "I welcome your friendship, my kin," said Solisar, "and I offer mine. Would you be willing to grant a friend and scholar access to the libraries?"

   "Let me introduce you to Loremaster Rivermantle," said the other elf. "Please take peace while I retrieve her."

   Solisar admired the craftsmanship of a nearby statue, one clearly depicting the artist's impression of the Trickster, Erevan Ilesere. Ereven was perhaps the least revered of the Seldarine among the sun elves. The green elves of Evermeet, Belvin's distant kin, respected him more than other elves, but for the most part, he was considered a rogue god; Corellon's Grove, one of the most sacred religious sites on Evermeet, ignored Erevan altogether. He was considered too unpredictable for most elves and interacted with a strange assortment of gods from other pantheons, it was said. Solisar was not sure what to think about him.

   "Excuse me, my brother. Are you the guest who wishes to see the lore of our people?"

   Solisar turned. The melodic voice came from a slender elven woman of exactly his height. She had striking eyes with black irises, a somewhat rare color among sun elves like himself. Her hair was the color of golden thread, but it was disheveled and covered in dust. Most races considered elven maidens beautiful and sun elves more so than other elves; while intelligence appealed to Solisar more than outward appearance, he had to admit that she was one of the most beautiful sun elves he had ever seen. The dust and unkempt hair did nothing to change this in his eyes.

   He was also struck by her youth. She must have lived for less than a century and a half; he expected a master of elven lore to be at least twice that old!

   He then remembered himself and answered her. "Yes, I am he. I presume that you are Loremaster Rivermantle? I am Solisar Keryth, from the isle of Evermeet. Well met."

   "The pleasure is mine. I am Vadalathra Sumathir," said the loremaster, using the elven translation of her surname. "I will happily show you the histories of our people stored here in this sacred place. Follow me."

   She led him to the delicately carved wooden staircase in the back corner of the building, which led to a mezzanine and then branched to the left and the right. "For which kind of lore do you seek, if I may ask," she said, as they walked, "that I may guide you to your goal more quickly?"

   "I recently returned from the Fugue Plane," Solisar began.

   "You are a planewalker?"

   "Alas, I did not travel there willingly," said Solisar, "but by the efforts of my companions, my time there was short. While there, I learned that the Seldarine are greatly interested in the activities of a human wizard whom my companions have been pursuing since before I met them."

   "Sharti tra fanil,..." said Vadalathra.

   "...niffi orisa," Solisar completed. The elvish parable could be translated, "Where the tree fails, the seed grows," and referred to how an unfortunate event could often have unforeseen and beneficial results. "Yet the seed needs watering, if you will permit me to continue the analogy," said Solisar. "While several of my companions have been quested by their gods to stop this wizard, I, however, have not learned what purpose I have in all of this. I am here to seek direction from the Seldarine. I have found that they most often speak to me through histories and tomes. Where better to seek such guidance than in Everdusk Hall, a place both a temple and a house of knowledge?"

   Vadalathra smiled. "A priest would tell you to visit one of the shrines below us," she said, as they stepped onto the second floor, "but I understand you completely. This," she said, as she waved her arm at the space before them, "is my sactuary."

   The library before him was a true work of art. Scattered about like a forest of knowledge, the scroll racks were carved to look like trees, with scroll tubes in the branches, organized to match their relationship to each other. Along the walls were the bookshelves, which were curved such that if a reader stood in the right spot, the books on the bottom shelves were exactly the same distance to reach as those on the upper shelves. Everything, of course, was made from the finest of woods of multiple shades of color.

   "Where shall we begin?" asked Vadalathra with such excitement that it seemed as if she had never seen this library before.

   "I have reason to believe that this wizard recovered either knowledge of how to create kiira or other artifacts based on that magic."

   "Lore stones?" Vadalathra grew even more visibly interested.

   "I was hoping that I could find something about kiira in the histories recorded in this place, so that I might better understand his goals."

   "The kiira were symbols of status for the great Houses of Myth Drannor. We have a bookshelf dedicated to each of the Houses. I expect that we shall find a record of each of the stones and their last known locations in the annals of each House. I know for certain that this is the case for House Alastrarra, for I read those annals myself. Their stone was given to the human mage Elminster for safekeeping after the slaying of Iymbryl Alastrarra in the middle of the second century after the Standing Stone, though he later returned it to the elves."

   "Your memory of details is impressive," said Solisar.

   "It is a gift I have," said Vadalathra, her bronze skin blushing. "But did you not say that this wizard was a human? A human cannot wear a kiira. It would destroy her mind!"

   "Such were my thoughts at first," said Solisar, "yet he attempts it nonetheless. I also believe he is seeking to make himself equal with the gods, so his ambitions are not small. If we also discover any histories of others who attempted such feats and recordings of how the Seldarine responded, this too would be immensely useful to me."

   "Come," said Vadalathra. "We have much reading to do!"
Session: 92nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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F@#k the Email.
I manually approved all registrations. Go ahead and log in on the other site.

If you have tried unsuccessfully to register, please follow up now and let me know if it is working.



[incidentally, I am not a web designer or fluent in programming at all, so please bear with me until this gets up and running]

Also, I have confirmation that the security certificate is running.
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