Wednesday 18 May 2022

Surang, and the Last Watch


A pitch, I guess, for a mega-dungeon game? 

The Last Watch is where the River Lithan roars off the side of the World Above, to plummet to unknown fate below. 

It’s the farthest finger of the Duchy of Defiance, among the Ringing Mountains that hem in the World Above. 

A forested valley, known best for deer twice the height of men, and clannish locals, who lay snares for the excise-men on the roads. Firs are stripped of their branches, and carved into boar-headed men, and in their hands are placed rusting old flintlocks and bottles of peach schnapps.

The Lithan, at the moment, is dry - the Sun King holds it down to a trickle. Dead shellfish and unfortunate trout pile on the glassy river-bed. 

Inner Defiance is dying of thirst. The people of the Watch rely on vicious storms which wash in from the World Below.

Young villagers will kill, to defend their water-sumps. 


There are a few villages in the valley of the Watch - the largest, Uurferk, is built upon a ridge halfway down the valley. It is a grey, fish-shaped tangle, with two main streets and a bridge over the chasm left in Lithan's shadow. 

The people there are staunch Defiants, and print pamphlets calling for Regicide and freedom for all. The people of the hill-villages care little for the Uurferkish fervour. 

The local militia, the Blackbirds, claim they’ve killed over a hundred Royalists. This is somewhat implausible. 

The provost, Jer Salomea, is obsessing over the construction of a lightning rod for the town. She is convinced that the lightning strikes which have bedevilled the town are the work of some witch or other, living among the people of the hills or the cliffs. 

Below the town, the Storm Drain Gallery, a strange little market for the archaeologists and scribes of the city - they’re enjoying a brief flowering, since literacy has been made legal after the Duchy’s rebellion against the Sun King. Come down here, to a green-tiled walkway in a damp sump, and purchase previously forbidden texts, wrapped in silk to keep off the damp. 

The Storm Drain’s proprietor is called Oktawia-sans-Tongue, for perhaps obvious reasons. She will trade Inscriptions, for artefacts and curiosities of the Watch. They say she writes to a contact in the Office of the Duchy, back north in Madrevel. Rumour is, they’re using her to look for something. 


A narrow road, a day outwards from Uurferk, takes you to the precipice of the world. On each side, the Ringing Mountains reach for the vaults of the heavens, wearing mantles of snow and fir-forest. 

The silence where the Great Fall would once have been is deafening.

The cliffs descend, black rock hovering above the clouds, for about three hundred feet, then run out. If you were mad, you could try and climb to the underside of the World Above. 

There’s villages out among the horsts and grabens, down among the undergrowth. Strange little ones, with names in an old language. The people keep themselves to themselves, but they’ve been seen parading around with cut-off animal heads on their shoulders.

Don’t mention that, though. 


A day and a half along the narrow road, you come across the first curtain wall, blown down with gunpowder. 

Surang was once a fortress where Knights would meet, and trade warnings of injustice and tales of chivalric deeds. Then, it was a bastion of the Royalist forces, once the Knights were outlawed. 

Many were cast off the great precipice, to Exile and uncertain doom in the World Below. 

Then, the Duchess' forces came out from the interior, and it was a warzone. The abatis and cannon-craters of the battle still scatter the parade-ground and the outer courtyard. 

Now, it’s a blasted out wreck filled with looters, holdouts of both sides, returning knights, and a lot of very weird shit. 

And, probably, a lot of very valuable shit.

Surang is one of the largest castles in the World. It’s one of those mind-boggling constructions of the early Chivalric Era - two concentric outer walls, a ruined castle-town, an inner donjon, and miles of subterranean corridors and oubliettes. Six towers, and a pitched roof above a great hall that occupies as much space as all of Uurferk. And, of course, the Precipice. 

They still can’t get the main gate open - it’s buried inexplicably under a waterfall of cooled lead. 

Your options are the old well in the parade-ground, scaling the outer wall to break into the old gate-keeper’s apartments, or sidling along unstable rock and getting in via the precipice door. 

Get in, avoid everyone else, and get out rich or mad. 

No comments:

Post a Comment