Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Walk in the Sump

Welcome to the Sump -- The Rainy City's boggy, waterlogged slums -- a place of rotting huts on tilted stilts, of murk and muck, of shaky walkways over muddy pools, and of beggars, rafts, and rice. Watch your step!

1d20 Sump Happenings
1. A Barge Bar: A flat swamp barge with a rough tarp to keep off most of the rain. Patrons sit on the floor of the barge, drinking rice wine from bowls, dipping their cups in buckets of the stuff for refills.
2. Leech Hunters: A team of 1d4+1 men sitting in a flat bottomed boat. Leaky empty casks on heavy ropes trail off the sides of the ship, each with a piece of bloody meat in the bottom. When enough fat leeches make it into a bucket, they pull it in and add to their stock.
3. Slumming Midtowners: Probably looking for cheap thrills, cheap rice wine, and small frogs.
4. Will O' the Wisp: Faintly glowing lights dance through the shadows just off the path. During the day, they flicker away immediately. At night, save vs spells or follow them. If followed, roll 1d6: on a 1-4 they lead you into a muddy bog (swim, if you can), 5 into a tar pit, 6 to the door of a sunken crypt.
5. Poison frog: Don't lick it if you have any work to do today. (Roll 1d6, on a 1 tripping, sweating, puking, save vs poison or die, 2-3 tripping, sweating, puking, but ok, 4 tripping, sweating, nauseuous, 5 tripping, sweating, 6 feels good man.)
6. Giant poison frog: Don't lick it. (Roll 1d6, on a 1-5 tripping, sweating, puking, you die (no save), on a 6 tripping, sweating, puking, save vs poison or die.)
6. Bog Wight: A lot of corpses get dumped in the Sump. Some of them come back up. (Roll 1d6, on a 1-2 treat as Skeleton, 3-4 as Zombie, 5 as Ghoul, 6 as Wight.)
7. Fresh Tar Pit: Tar bubbling up from the muck -- fresh tar pit emerging. Roll 1d6, on 1-3 it's just a little tar, maybe a bucket full, 4-5 it's enough for a few days of tar mining, 6 there's a tar geyser and a new tar mine will be opened here for 1d6 months).
8. Wine Wife Needs Help: A wine-maker will pay 1d6 good pieces of copper and a free cup of rice wine for help unloading rice from her boat to her distillery shack.
9. Mad Cadger: A crazy beggar spouting dire predictions about the future, 1 in 6 chance the cadger is a true diviner.
10. Wisper Men: A group of 1d4+2 men with wide brimmed hats and lanterns on poles. During the day, they're resting under a canopy. At night, they're out hunting Will o' the Wisps. They catch the lights and separate them, neutralizing the charm effect. Individual wisps can be sold for lanterns. When hunting, each man is chained to the raft. The keys are with the Wisper Master back at the hut.
11. Sump Gang: Local gang members are watching you. Make a reaction check. On a friendly result, you look like a potential customer. On a hostile result, you look like competition. They are armed with knives, hatchets, long razors, and hand axes.
12. Drunken Tar Miners: Off duty tar miners, drinking, gambling, and swapping tales about weird crypts hidden in the mud of the Sump, tar demons, and lost treasures.
13. Chemist: Chemist down from Old Town to collect herbal ingredients for alchemical drugs and potions. Has a small boat and 1d6 apprentices. Myriad bags, baskets, boxes, and vials litter the boat.
14. The Worm's Man: Old man in rags, carrying a cottonmouth in his left hand, out on an errand. He is the servant of the worm that lives in the ruined well at the heart of the Sump. The worm will make your wish come true, but you must make a wish come true for it in exchange. The worm's man is still paying for his wish, whatever it was.
15. Logging Jack Crew: Logging Jacks cutting good wood for sale to Old Town craftsmen. They're busy with work, but may have news about current wood prices or recent Old Town rumors.
16. Cormorant Fisher: Fisherman with a cormorant with cord tied about its neck. The cormorant dips below and brings up fish but can't swallow. The fisherman harvests his catch but gives the cormorant its due.
17. Jaunty Hat Floating in the Muck: If recovered, it bestows upon the wearer a certain panache. If worn in the middle class neighborhood of Prominence Bluffs ("The Mids") after dark, there is a 1 in 6 chance each hour that the wearer is attacked by the Mids Murderer and his Demon Arm.
18. Uncle Snapper: Ancient snapping turtle, roughly the size of a bull. Floating aimlessly. Harmless unless provoked.
19. Allspice: Grocer boat, possibly heading to or from Bridger's Market. Selling rice, cattail, kelp, leeches, shellfish, lampreys, frog, and eel.
20. Lily Mourners: Water lilies float up from the spot where someone has drowned. A group of sorrowful mourners (1d4) prays near a new lily. Roll 1d6, on 1-4, they are praying for the lost soul, on 5 they are letting down hooks trying to dredge up the body to rifle its pockets, on 6 they're doing both.


  1. Huzzah! It's great to see more from the Rainy City. While I haven't had a chance to use it, I still think it's a great setting.

  2. Thanks! I've really fallen behind on Rainy City posts, and it's good to get one out there.

  3. "Slumming Midtowners: Probably looking for cheap thrills, cheap rice wine, and small frogs."

    Do I want to know what the frogs are for?

  4. Especially combined with the other two...

    Oh, by the way: The Alexandrian is still posting, it just doesn't show up in the bloglist.

  5. I never thought the Sump was for anything other than hiding bodies. Wonderful, atmospheric stuff as always sir!

  6. Thanks for the pointer, C'nor. Looks like I really need to update my blogroll/"Following" list! I usually do most of my blog reading through Google Reader, which I do have up-to-date, so I've been following posts at the Alexandrian. But I also need to update things on this end!

  7. Thanks, crazyred! I'm glad to hear you liked it! I'm planning on doing a similar table for every major neighborhood in the Rainy City. Work has been a madhouse lately, which has contributed to the woeful neglect of my little corner of the internet. It may be a couple months before I get a consistent chance to give my plans sufficient attention, but in the meantime, I'll drop off the occasional post when time and inspiration collide!

  8. Wow. Haven't been following this, but if this table is any indication, I had better start.

    Excellent stuff. Really excellent.

    In fact, it's so excellent I'm probably going to steal it.

  9. Thanks, Lord Kilgore! I really appreciate it.

    If you get a chance to use anything, let me know how it goes!

  10. I love the Rainy City setting. Makes me want to write a story set in a rainy... err... city. ;)

    Love the idea of the Wisper Men. Nice touch.

  11. Hey this is really phenomenal. I love The Rainy City. How about compiling this into a book? I'd buy it!

  12. Thanks! Much appreciated. I have been thinking about developing something but haven't had room in my work schedule to make it a priority. One of these days...