Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Inspiring Illustrations - Outside the Khromarium Gate

32). Outside the Khromarium Gate

NOTE: These are adventure seeds and setting work for my own Hyperborea campaign inspired by the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerors of Hyperborea Gazetteer

Kromarium is vast and older than man. Streets and towers and catacombs that wind their way into the bowels of the earth like a wyrm gnawing at the heartstone of the city. So vast is Khromarium that losing oneself in its twisting paths can become being lost in passages of time and space and dimensions not hospitable to man. It is said that the center of the city can never be found, always there will be another tower, ruined manor, gaping pit where the dank sewer waters gush down and down and down, another street or alley to follow deeper and deeper along ways that should not be trodden if there is any wish to return.
But Khromarium is a city filled with life as well and the precincts that surround the walls and its many gates are lit with fires both mundane and magical. Cleanly swept are the corridors of the wealthy and powerful or littered and stinking with the refuse of the outcast poor and discarded souls. Merchant squares abound, strange passengers from stranger lands view wares from coach or palanquin. Street musicians play and thieves ply their trade. Courtesans demurely pass brothels where their less fortunate and less expensive fellow professionals bare their own bare and berouged wares from doors and balconys.

Outside the gates of Khromarium can be found philosophers, beggars and scribes. Soothsayers, hedge-wizards, and shamans can be found in abundance, but any with more earthly goods are shooed away and into the well-taxed environs of the city walls by the passing guardsman and mounted patrols of the city. The business of the mind, the soul, and the mystical is conducted along these thoroughfares by any but the well-established masters of these professions, beggars and mendicants excluded.

Tellers of fortunes, popular among the Kimmerians and people of Rus, have small tents inside the city gates, while a more well-regarded practicer of divination can be found sitting upon a waxed or oiled cloth on the verge of the great road close to the iron and wood portals of the city. There is a hierarchy and tradition among the traders in the ephemeral outside of the gates and woe-betide any who would usurp another's spot of buttocks smoothed grass that may have been occupied for generations or passed down from journeyman to apprentice from time immemorial. 

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