- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: History of Onnwal
- Chapter 3: Rulership and Law
- Chapter 4: Trade, Taxes and Money
- Chapter 5: Peoples of the Dragonshead
- Chapter 6: Deities of the Dragonshead
- Chapter 7. Overview of Onnwal Climate
- Chapter 8. The Storm Coast
- Chapter 9: Gilderond
- Chapter 10: The Eastern Marchlands
- Chapter 11: The Azure Coast
- Chapter 12: Adventuring in Onnwal
- Appendix 1: Personages of Note
- Appendix 2: Historical Figures of Note
The northernmost province of Onnwal, the Storm Coast takes its name for the tempests that regularly roll in from the Sea of Gearnat to batter its rocky shores and cliffs. The land here is rugged. A loose chain of low stony plateaus and craggy ridges, called the Volanots, stretches along the coast from south of Scant to just east of Sornhill, generally decreasing in height from west to east. To the north, the land rises out of the sea in steep cliffs. However, to the south, the crags slope down more gradually into the central plains. In the east – the Norland peninsula forms a flat and rather marshy bowl of land fringed by low hills and cliffs.
Many small fast-running streams that cut deep, sheltered valleys running north into the sea or south onto the plains dissect the low coastal hills of the Storm Coast. Remnants of Onnwal’s primordial forest cling on in many of these valleys and on sheltered southern slopes. North-facing slopes tend to be clothed in rough hardy scrub – stunted by the fierce gales and the salty sea spray, which they carry. Heaths, bogs and small lakes are found in many of the valleys.
Most of the Storm Coast’s populace are concentrated in the valleys – huddled in fishing villages set in sheltered coves where the streams meet the Gearnat. Fishing is the main occupation here – with the small boats venturing onto the Gearnat mainly in summer and winter – when the storms that bedevil the Gearnat are less frequent. The people of the Storm Coast are well known throughout Onnwal as capable and hardy sailors – wise in sea lore and weather and well used to riding out a squall or gale. Inland, the people mainly herd and graze sheep and goats on the hillsides and valleys – though, unlike the Headlands, little wool comes from here – through a number of interesting salted sheep and goat cheeses are made in the Storm Coast.
In the south where the land merges into the central plains, there is some arable farming – mainly root crops – and viticulture on well-drained, south-facing slopes. Storm Coast wines – entirely red – are known for being solid and dependable but not outstanding (not unlike the people according to one wag in Scant). Suel blood predominates more in the people of the Storm Coast – especially the west – than elsewhere in Onnwal, and some old Suel customs and traditions, forgotten elsewhere, linger on here. The valleys and fishing towns of the Storm Coast are noted for their mages and sorcerers, many of who are elementalism, unsurprisingly.
Cantreds of the Storm Coast
|Cantred||Type of Laird||Ruling House||Laird||Cantred Seat|
|Gearnwal||Hereditary Baron||Maldrenn||Baron Keirnel Maldrenn||Tassak’s Cove|
|Stormwal||Hereditary Baron||Baryaern||Baroness Velyae Bayraern||Tarlesan|
|Saltim||Hereditary Baron||Relaster||Baron Milos Relaster||Greenfalls|
The Great House of Relaster
Dukes Of The Storm Coast, Barons Of Norland And Saltirn
The wind and wave-lashed Duchy of the Storm Coast is ruled by the House of Relaster. Unlike many of the other Aerdi nobles who remained aloof of the conquered Suel, the Relasters, whose subjects were largely Suel, married into the former Suel nobility and adopted many Suel customs. Not surprising then, that the Relasters are known for its mages and sages of the subtle arts, from Lady Lindera – the Suel White Witch of Sornhill (whom Holgarn, the first duke, married), to Kosrel, the mage-duke, grandfather of the current Duchess. Many of the Relaster mages concentrated on control of the elements of air and water – a practical pursuit, given the climate of the Duchy. As well as mages, the Relasters produced many fine sailors and several of Onnwal’s most notable Sea Eagles came from this house.
The Relasters also held the baronies of Norland and Saltirn and made extensive marriage alliances with their noble vassals.
On the Night of the Scarlet Knives, Rohal Soldas, the town’s treacherous mayor betrayed Sornhill, the duke and his family, to the Scarlet Brotherhood. The Duke’s brother, Jian Relaster – Glaive Superior of the Glaives of Azharadian was assassinated in Scant just prior to the fall of the city, while the duke’s cousin the mage Pirraen, Baron Saltirn, led the resistance against the Brotherhood until he was captured and burned alive in the marketplace of Sornhill. Thus Saielma Relaster, the eldest surviving child of the previous duke now administers the Storm Coast. Her younger brother, Garamon, who ruled the ancestral lands at Norland, vanished without a trace in the Lortmil Mountains in 591CY. Since his disappearance, three closely related cousins now contest the rulership of the Cantred: Milos Relaster, already Baron Saltirn; Wallac Relaster, who fought with the Wreckers in the Headlands during the Occupation; and Harnashir Relaster, a staunch worshiper of Pholtus. Paradd Carbani, the heir to the Merchant House, has been appointed by Szek Jian as Provost-Arbiter to administer Norland while the dispute is resolved.
Baryaern (Minor House)
Barons of Stormwal
The Barons of Stormwal is an old Sueloise family, who were raised to nobility through intermarriage with the Relasters several centuries ago. Like the Relasters they are noted for their mages and elementalists. They are also well known for their longstanding feud with the neighbouring House of Maldrenn. With the death of the previous baron in the Occupation, his daughter, the Lady Velyae, a mage of some prowess, is the baroness apparent?
Jherlo (Minor House)
Barons of Obelstone
The House of Jherlo was one of the few pre-Aerdi Suel noble houses to retain its lands and titles after Onnwal was absorbed by the Great Kingdom. The house allied itself with Azharadian at the outset of his invasion of the country, welcoming him ashore when he landed at Obelton. The house has nonetheless been at pains to maintain the purity of its bloodline through the centuries. This may have been the Jherlo’s undoing, for when the Brotherhood invaded, after the baron was poisoned, his wife and three daughters were led away by the invaders and have not been seen since. The late baron has no other living heirs, thus the fate of the house is very much in question.
Maldrenn (Minor House)
Barons of Gearnwal
The staunchly Oerid House of Maldrenn was given charge of the troublesome Cantred of Gearnwal early in the Aerdi rule of Onnwal. The region was home to many Suel bandits and pirates until the firm rule of the Maldrenn quashed such lawless behaviour. Though harsh and intolerant of Suel customs, the Maldrenn barons were nonetheless fair and just. Their martial traditions and their disparaging attitude to Suel traditions have been the cause of a longstanding feud between them and the neighbouring House of Baryaern. This attitude also led to the previous baron being singled out for a particularly gruesome death at the hands of the Brotherhood – he was laid under a wooden platform and crushed beneath the weight of local people who the Brotherhood forced to stand atop it. His brother, Lord Keirnal Maldrenn, however, survived the Occupation and is now fighting to restore his still occupied fief.
Locations on the Storm Coast
Detailed below are a selection of locations that can be found on the Storm Coast. This should not be considered an exhaustive listing.
The Town of Sornhill
Local Lore and History
Named after a prominent local landmark, Sornhill possesses one of the best- sheltered anchorages in Onnwal. Situated on the southern rim of Notxia Bay and protected from the seasonal storms by the rugged uplands of the western arm of the bay that juts out into the Gearnat like the out-flung arm of a giant, Sornhill in one shape or another has existed for almost a thousand years. The Suel first settled the area after they subjugated the local Flan tribes after the Great Migrations. They constructed a small bastion and town; parts of which, including the Red Tower, are still in use today. Much of the town was, however, devastated when the Oeridians swept out of the east and conquered the region in the late 590s OR. Suel arrogance was their undoing – secure in their might, the settlers had not walled their fledgling town.
The Oeridians reconstructed the shattered town by throwing a curtain wall around the whole town and constructing four additional Keeps to defend the approaches to the town. Desiring greater security, they also built additional fortifications around the Red Tower, dubbing them “Storm Haven” from which, the Relasters governed the Storm Coast. Sornhill prospered under the rule of the Aerdi, expanding beyond the original Oerid High Town to two further districts – Harbour and Haven Town. These were encircled by walls in the late 440┬ CY.
After the founding of the Iron League and the Battle of a Thousand Banners Sornhill grew steadily to its pre-Greyhawk Wars population of 3000, expanding beyond its protective walls. This new community was dubbed Gate Town, located as it was around the Saltirn Gate – the main accessway to the town.
A squadron of the Onnwalon fleet was based here to guard against the depravations of Imperial warships and booming shipbuilding and repairing industry sprang up servicing merchants and nobility alike. A not insignificant proportion of the town can be found beyond the walls, though much of this has been heavily damaged in the near-constant skirmishing that went on after liberation.
The Fall of Sornhill
Although most of the town is enclosed within its own walls, Sornhill fell quickly to the Brotherhood, a victim of similar tactics to those employed during the battle for Scant. Rohal Soldas, the then Mayor of Sornhill, admitted an advance guard of Brotherhood troops who captured Duke Relaster along with most of his immediate family and secured the fortress-lighthouse of Osprem’s Light allowing the Brotherhood fleet that appeared on the horizon the next morning to sail into Notxia Bay unhindered.
The Retaking of Sornhill
Rebel forces launched a surprise attack on Osprem’s Light late in Patchwall 590 CY which allowed them to effectively cut off the town from Brotherhood supply vessels that attempted to reach the town. When they took the town, the Brotherhood had increased the number of catapults on and around Osprem’s Light and these were now used to good effect by Rebel artillerists who sank one vessel and severely damaged two more before the town fell. A short siege ensued which lasted through the last months of 590 CY. Cut off and subject to almost constant probing and infiltration attacks Brotherhood forces quickly lost the will to resist. The Kesh of Sornhill, Kekarav Madi, was forced early in Sun’sebb 590 CY to attempt a breakout from the doomed town. During a confused night action, Kekarav managed to flee with a handful of priests, warriors, and elite Hochebi followers aboard his personal vessel The Scarlet Death. Rebel forces did manage, however, to severely damage the attendant warship, The Scarlet Rage, so much so that they were able to board and capture the crippled vessel. Rohal Soldas’ body was not found in the retaken town and it is assumed that he escaped with Madi.
Strike and Counter Strike
After the recapture of the town, the rebels moved quickly to reinforce their beleaguered troops in the area. The Relasters also returned to Storm Haven and began to reorganize their holdings. Several months after their expulsion, however, Hochebi troops have returned to the area. Kekarav Madi is also thought to have returned to the area although how he managed to escape the wrath of Kuranyie is unknown.
The rebels still hold Osprem’s Light and attendant fortifications on the western side of the bay but Hochebi troops have again entered the hills in force. Now the only contact with the beleaguered forces holding those vital fortifications is by boat. All other buildings on the western side of the bay are in the hands of the Hochebi troops that infest the hills. Skirmishing is continuous here, although rebel forces have exclusive control of the bay itself.
The Great House of Relaster rules the Storm Coast and have their seat at Sornhill. Sornhill is the capital of the Storm Coast and is administered by a Mayor who is traditionally appointed by the leader of House Relaster. The eldest member of the ducal family to survive the conflict thus far is Saielma Relaster and is she now rules Sornhill.
Who Really Rules
Although Saielma rules here in name and has the favour of the townsfolk, she is unskilled in the arts of war. Fearing that she is not equal to the task she has allowed the Captain of her father’s personal guard, a grizzled old Marine veteran Hazaraz Skullsplitter almost complete freedom to deal with the Hochebi that infest the western reaches of Notxia Bay. A cunning tactician and not unskilled warrior, Hazaraz has been successful in containing the Hochebi threat to the western arm of the bay.
Sornhill’s pre-occupation population was close to 3,000. Currently, the total number of people resident in the town is around 2,000. Not all of the “missing” thousand folks however have been killed in the fighting and oppression levelled at the population by the Brotherhood. A few hundred managed to flee across the Gearnat to southern Nyrond in a single caravel (Tempest), fleeing the town as the docks rung to the sounds of a desperate rearguard action by a few brave marines and their leader, Barrend Desharn. Others fled into the Headlands, while others of Suel descent were carried off by the Brotherhood. Some, sickened by the constant warfare, fled the town after liberation, carrying their meagre possessions south and east in search of a safer place to call home.
Before the Wars Sornhill boasted a formidable shipbuilding and repair industry as well as a healthy surplus of agrarian products which were exported to Irongate and Nyrond. Much of the shipyards were damaged or destroyed by retreating Brotherhood forces however and many of the fields, orchards and plantations surrounding the town were also similarly damaged. Although currently food production easily feeds the folk of Sornhill no surplus is available to export. Fishing is also important to the folk of the town, although this is no longer carried out in the western portion of the bay.
Hazaraz leads a small force of veterans that is strengthened in times of need by the militia that is relatively well trained and equipped. He commands a force of 60 marines and 380 men at arms that operate solely in and around the town. The militia can muster a force of roughly 250, some of which are on duty at any given time. In addition, he commands a galley (Fearless) and two caravels (Tempest and Gallant) that escaped the fall of Onnwal by fleeing to Nessermouth in southern Nyrond. His troops are well motivated and well-led although the constant skirmishing across the bay has led to equipment and manpower shortages. Fearless is constantly stationed in Notxia Bay, carrying stores and replacement men to Osprem’s Light several times a week. Tempest and Gallant patrol up and down the coast keeping an eye on possibly Hochebi re-supply routes and discouraging Brotherhood vessels from trying to get too close to the town.
In early 592CY, a war galley dominated by the Viscount of VerboConc joined the squadron, its captain pledging his allegiance and service to Duchess Saielma. The vessel, Te Lady of the Silver Hills, as a gift from the viscount in return for the noble deeds performed for the Viscounty by one of the duchess’ loyal followers Gremag the Mule.
Sornhill has not been a centre for the learning of the mystic arts since the invasion of the Suel almost 1000 years ago. Many learned individuals fled the town in the face of the Brotherhood invasion although a few mages and sages have returned to the town after the flight of local Brotherhood forces.
- Erian Tournavil Originally from Almor fled here after a border raid by the Overking’s forces destroyed his village and killed most of his family. He is a comically thin, tall individual who prefers to wear bright, flamboyant clothes and is particularly fond of “impressive” headgear. His eyes are brown, as is his hair although he has a small lock of blond hair behind his left ear. Intelligent and quick, he lacks common sense and is not overly strong. Erian possesses a wide range of spells and will cast most of these for a fee. Unfortunately, Erian believes himself to be a talented singer – and he most definitely is not. He uses the bulk of the monies gained from his spellcasting to fund his hobby, hiring musicians to accompany him in the various inns and taverns of the town. This situation is not helped by his lack of common sense and the fact that he is almost tone-deaf. He can normally be found at the “Laden Merchantman”, in Harbour Town where he permanently rents a small suite of rooms.
- Kiral Kackrov is a brash young Invoker who often accompanies Fearless across the bay to Osprem’s Light. Wild and unpredictable he has yet to find himself in a situation which, he cannot blast his way out of. Older and wiser mages agree that it is just a matter of time…
- Niara Telk is a quiet unassuming young woman skilled in the arts of divination who provided invaluable assistance to Hazaraz’s forces during the battle for Osprem’s Light. She assists the soldiers still and some whisper of a romance between her and Hazaraz. Born and raised in Sornhill she fled the town as it fell to Brotherhood forces. She hid in the Headlands for several years aiding the Resistance until it was safe for her to return home.
- Tahllean Baeltas, the companion of Uthather and member of the Breakers, disappears from town for days at a time, ranging up and down the coast for miles. Only Uthather may know what she seeks.
- Uthather Kais, a member of the Breakers, has been seen in the town in recent months, along with his companion Tahllean Baeltas. It was Uthather’s personal might that threw back the recent attack on Osprem’s Light that carried the outer walls. He is known to be a powerful spell caster with access to many magical items including a Staff of Fire.
The Temple of the Light of the Havens. This is a small temple dedicated to the Soother of Storms in the Harbour Town of Sornhill that serves as a supply base for Osprem┬ Light across the bay. A prominent temple in the town, it has its own dock for the use of the faithful. The clergy of the church were almost all captured by the Brotherhood when the town fell with only a handful escaping by ship to Nessermouth. The captured priests were subjected to “re-education” at the hands of the Brotherhood’s Office of Faith. While some died during the ordeal or went mad – the remainder have become fanatically loyal supporters of the Scarlet Sign. When the rebels retook the town although efforts were made to capture them alive, a number of priests died rather than surrender. The survivors are now held in the dungeons of the Red Tower. It is unknown whether their minds can be freed from the hold, which the Brotherhood has over them. A small contingent of priests loyal to Free Onnwal, led by Dreyan Manasar, now man the temple and Osprem’s Light across the bay.
The Hall of the Pursuer, devoted to Trithereon, was established after the liberation of the town. Members of the priesthood were at the forefront of the struggle and as a result, the faith has many converts here. The Hall is a makeshift effort, set up in an abandoned inn – formerly the Windward House. Heramall Senned, a devout, tempestuous man, leads the faith. He is something of a rabble-rouser and in preaching the importance of Liberty – has begun to harp on anti-aristocratic sentiments. His favourite phrase is “who forgets history today, forgets liberty tomorrow.”
Several Knights of the Chase have been seen in and around the Hall, aiding the priests in the defence of the town. Heramall has been at the forefront of rallying the cowed townsfolk to resist the return of the Brotherhood to Sornhill.
The Vault of the Sea, this imposing Temple of Xerbo stands close to the docks, near the market. In more peaceful times, Xerbo was one of the most popular faiths in Sornhill and the priests of the temple grew wealthy from their share of the sea traffic between the port and Nessermouth in Nyrond. However, nearly the entire hierarchy of the church here were either agents of the Scarlet Sign or willing collaborators. Only a handful of junior priests rejected the invaders, fleeing to the Storm Isles and joining the Loyal Church of Xerbo there. The remainder became part of the new regime, betraying their Zilchan counterparts to the Brotherhood and receiving much of the wealth of that church as a reward. The Church also aided in re-supplying the garrison in Sornhill and enjoyed many trading privileges.
After the Brewfest Rebellion, however, Maren Vidkho – a prominent priest in the temple, sensing the way the tide was turning, began aiding Free Onnwal. Information provided by Vidkho proved essential in the recapture of Sornhill. When the town was liberated – the populace rose up against the collaborators. The mob ransacked the Vault and lynched three before Free Onnwal forces were able to bring the crowd under control. While Vidkho is held in the Red Tower for his own protection, the remainder of his former compatriots are held in the dungeons beneath – awaiting trial for their collaboration. The Vault, largely stripped of its wealth, is now used both to house those made homeless by the fighting and as the base for the Church of Mayaheine in Sornhill.
Once the temple of Xerbo, The Shield of the Faithful, or simply “The Shield” is the centre of Mayaheine’s faith in Sornhill. The sanctuary has been rededicated to the Shieldmaiden, the altar of Xerbo having been destroyed by vengeful mobs after the liberation. The leader of the Church of Mayaheine in Onnwal, the golden-tressed shield-maiden Jelal Mullenden has personally led a mission of a half dozen priests to help bolster the defence of the beleaguered town. Mullenden and three priests, plus a group of converts, form part of the garrison defending Osprem’s Light. The remainder helps with the defence of Sornhill and in the tending of the homeless and injured taking shelter in the temple. The good efforts of Mullenden and her devoted clergy folk have won many hearts and minds in Sornhill and services in the old temple are regularly attended by large numbers of townsfolk.
The Stormspire, or “the Spire” among locals was the temple of Procan in Sornhill. Located on the waterfront in the harbour, it was named for its great spire, shaped like a great shell made of a polished blue marble imported from Medegia and was one of Sornhill’s most notable landmarks. The temple was levelled after the fall of the town in 584 CY. A few of the temple’s priests escaped on the only ship to escape Sornhill, the others were either killed in the fighting in the harbour, captured and enslaved or managed to escape through the limestone caverns linked to the sanctuary pool in the temple. Some masonry from the temple was being used in the construction of a temple to Llerg – however, the building work was interrupted by the fall of the town last autumn. Thus the Spire is now little more than a pile of half-cleared rubble. A small number of priests led by one Velder Hanreth have managed to clear the sanctuary pool and have set up a makeshift shrine in the rubble. They are more usually occupied aiding the naval squadron against Brotherhood raiders, however.
Sornhill was also home to the Stormseekers, a small splinter sect of the main church of Procan. They held their services in a large house in the Harbour Town, called the Tempesthall. The house was once the home of the sect’s founder Burisan Stormseeker, but has since been converted into a shrine to him and to the Sender of Storms. The sect fled Sornhill a few weeks after the town fell, escaping Brotherhood pursuit by steering into an autumn squall on the Gearnat which sank the Brotherhood vessel chasing them. Iseln Guiral, who commanded the ship at the time has now become the sect’s leader and with his followers have waged war on the ships of the Brotherhood in the Storm Isles and Coast. In retaliation, the Brotherhood burnt the Tempesthall and housed pigs inside the tumbled walls.
The Halls of the Shining Coin, was once the temple of Zilchus in Sornhill. An ornate and gilded temple, it stood near the marketplace. Overshadowed by the influence of the church of Xerbo, the priests of Zilchus did however derive wealth from overland trade with Scant and Killdeer and it was no accident that the staging yards for wains in the town was directly behind the Halls. When Sornhill fell, despite the fact many went into hiding in the town, their rivals in the temple of Xerbo betrayed the priests of Zilchus to the Brotherhood. The enslaved priests were forced to strip the gold leaf from the temple, pry out the jewelled eyes of the statues, open the statues of their god and pry out the golden hearts within and finally level the temple. The senior priests were then laid under wooden doors in the marketplace and crushed by having wains driven over them. A temple to Bralm was built on the site using the stone from the old temple and the lives of many slaves. This edifice was ransacked and desecrated during the liberation and it now houses a small mission of Zilchan priests newly arrived from Killdeer as well as the surviving local clergy, many of whom are still in an appalling state after their long ordeal. The leader of the mission is Ceriam Grathenn, who with his fellow clergymen is trying to re-establish trade links between Sornhill and the rest of Free Onnwal. Success in this venture would bring much-needed supplies to the town.
The Chapel of Fortunes, a small domed building set near the marketplace, houses the temple of Norebo in Sornhill. As well as giving blessings of good fortune on the fishermen and sailors who braved the stormy Gearnat to make a living, the priests of the Chapel also ran one of Sornhill’s best gaming houses, The Ivory House, situated adjacent to the chapel. When the town fell, some of the clergy (mainly those of Oerid blood) managed to quietly disappear and later found their way into rebel bands. Most however stayed on in the town and collaborated with the Brotherhood regime. Though not a popular god with the Brotherhood, Norebo is shown respect, and as long as they obeyed orders the priests were not harmed. After the liberation, when vengeful mobs of townsfolk came to lynch the collaborators, they found that they had already been detained by the rebel forces and whisked away into the Red Tower under the protection of the Rebel commander.
The Chapel of the Blinding Light, is set as an annex to the former law courts and served as the town’s temple to Pholtus. Before the occupation, the priests of Pholtus ran the Court of Sessions in the town and oversaw the application of justice and the rule of law. Pholtus though never enjoyed widespread popularity on the Storm Coast. When Sornhill fell, the small group of the clergy here was martyred almost in its entirety, while the Lawcourts were gutted and converted into a Temple to Wee Jas by the Brotherhood’s Office of Faith. One priest, Galetin Kestell, managed to escape to Nyrond in a small open boat, though his health and his mind were shattered by his ordeal. His remarkable journey was taken as a sign of the will of Pholtus and he has become a talisman of the new intolerant Palish dogma which the Onnwalish church has adopted. Galetin was brought back to Sornhill last month by a band of Pholtites, led by Cathera of Ogburg, a fanatical missionary from the Theocracy of the Pale. They have rededicated the chapel, destroying the reliquary of Wee Jas, and have set about preaching the Doctrines of the One True Path to the people of Sornhill. The Pholtines have taken up enforcement of the law once more, but now apply harsh Palish laws and sentences rather than the laws set down in Schandor’s legal code. Furthermore, they preach loudly against the Suel faiths, marking them all as servants of the Scarlet Sign and have begun witch-hunts to root out collaborators and traitors. With her charismatic firebrand preaching, Cathera has won many converts – especially among those who were enslaved by the Brotherhood.
The Hearth of the Raging Flame, is a new temple now being constructed by a group of followers of Joramy on the site of the half-built temple of Pyremius which has aptly enough burnt to the ground during the fighting to liberate the town. Centred about a fierce bonfire that forms the sanctuary of the temple and which the Joramites keep continually stoked, the temple itself is constructed of reddish masonry and brick cobbled from other ruined buildings in the town. Plans are afoot to try to haul stone from Death-Fall Quarry to complete the building, which is intended to be the focus for the new faith in Onnwal. This is despite warnings by locals of the dangers of the place. The Joramites here number only about a dozen priests and acolytes, led by Jarwar Highflame. Though small in number, their angry creed has struck a chord with some in the town, who suffered under the Scarlet Sign and the church has a growing following – especially among the dispossessed. However, the Joramites continual use of timber to fuel their sanctuary flame has raised hackles among the Rebel commanders, who require all the wood they can find to recommence the construction of naval vessels.
A Shrine of the Winds and Sky, devoted to the Velaeri, once stood in the marketplace. It was a popular focus of worship both for farmers bringing their produce for sale and for sailors braving the tempestuous seas. Though the Brotherhood desecrated and destroyed the shrine, a makeshift replacement has recently been erected.
The Scarlet Brotherhood Temples: During their occupation of Sornhill, the Brotherhood began the construction of temples to their gods and the conversion of the local populace. While conversion was largely unsuccessful, the temples of Bralm and Wee Jas were completed by the time the town was liberated by Free Onnwal forces. As has been noted above, the temple of Bralm is being used as a temporary shelter for the priests of Zilchus. The hated priests of the Toiling Lady were stoned to death by a lynch mob in the precincts of the temple, though the body of Janisar, the hated high priestess of the temple was not among the dead. Her fate is unknown. The Temple of Wee-Jas was re-sanctified by the Church of Pholtus. Most of the clergy managed to escape with the fleeing Brotherhood forces. The Temples of Llerg and Pyremius were only half-constructed when Sornhill was recaptured. Many of the priests of both faiths either died in the fighting or fled. The constructions have been claimed by the churches of Procan and Joramy respectively. Finally, a shrine to Syrul was found in one of the dungeon rooms beneath the Red Tower. Interestingly, a number of religious murals were found on the walls of this chamber whose age-long predated the Brotherhood occupation. It is speculated that they are relics of the Onnwi. Whatever the truth, they have defied defacing – with the colours and pictures re-emerging through either damage or covering. The room has been sealed off.
Notable Rogues’ and Thieves’ Guilds
The Wreckers were very active here before the occupation, fleecing merchants travelling to and from Nyrond and points further west. With the arrival of Brotherhood forces, the Sornhill cell led by Teral Lightfingers assisted many inhabitants to flee to Nyrond. Partially successful penetration of the organization by members of the Scarlet Brotherhood in 585 CY heralded the death or imprisonment of most operatives here. The surviving members fled the town and operated out of several secret bases up and down the coast. Some even hid in previously explored barrows in the Barrow Fields. With the liberation of the town, most surviving members have returned to assist in the extermination of the humanoids to the west. Members can be found assisting scouting parties on the west shore using their nefariously gained knowledge of the terrain to good effect. Prominent members in the local cell include:
- Jornal Surearm. is a wild unpredictable man, originally from Scant who now is a member of the Wreckers operating along the north coast of Onnwal. A handsome and vain man he is nevertheless intelligent and quick. He stands 5′ 8” tall, is of average build, and has a thick “mane” of black luxurious hair that he constantly preens and cleans and has eyes of a light grey hue that dart around seemingly trying to take everything. He prefers to wear fine fabrics that set off his eyes and hair. The son of a minor merchant he is skilled as a gem cutter and appraiser. He knows the northern coast of Onnwal well. Jornal can normally be found in a taproom or around the docks searching for information or Brotherhood informants. He is well known along the north coast and has friends in all the towns there.
- Teral Lightfingers is a competent intelligent rogue who was given command of the Sornhill cell by Chert himself, to whom he is fiercely loyal. He prefers to deal through a few trusted intermediaries than directly with strangers. Of late Teral┬ lieutenants, Relmar and Radaban, have slipped back into the old ways, preferring profit to patriotism.
Most equipment usable in military operations is funnelled directly to Hazaraz Skullsplitter and his forces although small amounts of weapons and armour can be found for sale albeit at higher than normal prices. Other equipment, apart from that constructed of metal is easy to find and can be found at normal prices.
A port, Sornhill had many taverns and hostelries suitable for use by War Companies and other adventurous souls. Many of these establishments were used to house the Hochebi troops of the occupation. Subsequently many have been damaged and a few rendered uninhabitable by the depravations of the humanoids. Several of the owners have also been slain during altercations with the Hochebi troops so much so that after the liberation of the town fully half of the inns and alehouses of the town had no traceable owner. Many have been simply commandeered by the Resistance, being used to house troops, members of the militia and those, whose own housing had been destroyed in the fighting.
Other Personages of Note
- Randolf of Sornhill. Originally a kitchen labourer in Storm Haven Randolf never knew his parents, being raised as an orphan by the cook and his wife. Although now overweight, he is still healthy and he has brown hair, which he wears down to his shoulders and light blue eyes. Unfailingly polite Randolf has a keen business mind and is a good planner. He is also an accomplished haggler and is well known in most coastal towns. Randolf maintains small businesses in Killdeer and Sornhill and has business contacts in many of the villages of Onnwal. Randolf will always seek to turn a situation to his advantage and is a firm believer in the phrase “you must speculate to accumulate”. He is missing the little finger on his left hand.
- Ement Naersaul. Ement is captain of the merchant vessel “The Peryton” that makes the perilous journey between Nyrond and Onnwal. Ement is originally from Idee and fled before the Scarlet Occupation in that country and the subsequent Alhissan “liberation”. Ement stays on the Peryton even when docked in the harbour. He has dreams of one day building up a vast merchant fleet under his command. It is said that he was once the leader of a merchant house in Naerie and left behind his fortune and his wife-to-be in order to remain free. It is not known exactly how he escaped along with his crew and ship when many others did not.
- Onrulf “the Smith Prince”. Onrulf is a Dwur weaponsmith of great skill and low prices. He has not married and has devoted his life to perfecting his craft. He dislikes the attitudes of Nerakarn Dwur, seeing them as overly pious, narrow-minded and mired in their own self-importance. He is a follower of the Dwur ways but even he has adapted to human ways and customs. He worships Fortubo and his family’s patron deity Clangeddin at a small shrine in his house. Onrulf is tall for a Dwur with leathery tanned skin due to years next to the forge. His beard and hair are pleated and sandy red in colour, while his eyes are brown.
Features of Sornhill
Storm Haven and the Red Tower: Built by Suel settlers shortly after their arrival on the Storm Coast. This fortification was constructed solely out of red-hued granite mined from the hills to the south and dragged here by captured Flan. The Onnwi was to house important Flan prisoners and as a final defensive bastion against a Flan uprising. The tower now forms part of the inner defences of the Oeridian citadel Storm Haven. A circular affair 100′ high and 60′ in diameter the Red Tower has survived the centuries well. The red-hued granite used exclusively in its construction has proven exceptionally tough. Although the stones are pitted with age and the eroding effects of the frequent storms, making the outer walls of the citadel quite easy to climb, the original structure had extensive dungeons beneath it used for storage and other less savoury purposes.
Captured by the Brotherhood during the conquest they converted it back to its former use, keeping influential Onnwalon captives here. They reopened the ancient tunnels and chambers beneath the tower, using them for the incarceration and torture of captives. Duke Relaster was kept imprisoned here during the first 2 years of the occupation until his escape in 586 CY through unknown means. Relaster was subsequently found slain by magic on the coast road to Killdeer with his rescuers, one of whom was his eldest son Doriene, a warrior of no small prowess. Since liberation Storm Haven has served as Hazaraz’s command post. Saielma Relaster can also be found here with a small retinue of trusted servants and guards. The marines stationed in Sornhill also use Storm Haven as their base of operations. They have taken the precaution of re-sealing the underground portions of the complex not knowing what could lurk there and lacking the manpower (and the inclination) to investigate.
Osprem’s Light: Standing across the bay from Sornhill, this lighthouse has, in various forms, guided sailors safely into port for many centuries. The original tower was all but destroyed when the Oerids entered the area. Rebuilt and expanded during their rule the complex served as a temple of Osprem, lighthouse and fortification commanding the approaches to the harbour. It is now the site of the most desperate fighting in the Storm Coast. Both sides believe that whoever controls Osprem’s Light will control Sornhill, and therefore the Storm Coast.
Ship Yards: Originally three individuals owned shipyards, which were strung out along the northern portion of Harbour Town. The Brotherhood made extensive use of these facilities and their attendant wood stockpiles during their occupation. As they abandoned the town they set fire to much of these facilities and slew all the skilled labourers they could find. Of the three owners, only two survived, one of them blinded by the cruel cut of a Brotherhood sword. Rebel effort has been concentrated on repelling the Hochebi to the west and in buttressing the fortifications of Sornhill. Rebuilding the shipyards has been their second priority and they have “cannibalized” parts of the deceased Harnshir Jarome’s operation to rebuild Patriis Monir and Gershimon Iilinski’s facilities.
Although blind, Gershimon directs the frantic rebuilding work with amazing accuracy and vigour, seemingly being immune to the effects of fatigue. Each shipyard can accommodate two ocean-going vessels at any one time and it is expected that Sornhill will become one centre of the rebels’ shipbuilding efforts next year when the repair work is completed. Harnshir Jarome’s operation is little more than a burned-out shell. His dry docks are choked with rubble and he and his workers are dead. The whole area is considered extremely dangerous and unstable with rebel work crews only working on the periphery of the site, carting away what can be saved.
The Briny Halls: Situated close to the harbour this large indoor market is where many folks buy and sell fish. The produce here is considered to be the freshest Sornhill with fish being brought in at all times of the day. It is not just fish that are sold here though. Salt, spices, fruits, grains and various other consumables are also to be had here when shipments make it through to the town. All the vendors consider themselves to be the best in Sornhill and many make special dishes to prove it!
The Halls are named for their wet floors and, in particular, the smell that emanates from the Fishmongers court. The Halls are divided into the Fishmonger’s Court (the largest and through which all must pass to enter the other courts), The Salt Court (salts, spices and preserves), The Green Court (fruit and vegetables) and the Bakers Court (cakes, pastries and other sweet things).
Sellers of flowers, songs and entertainers travel among the courts of the halls, mingling with the buyers and sellers. Members of the militia and the Church of Zilchus also watch the Briny Halls because in the past smuggling has been carried out within its precincts. It was built some 300 years ago by an Aerdi noble as a seafront mansion. Unfortunately flooding some 285 years ago destroyed it and rather than restoring it the noble sold it and returned it to Ountsey. It was then used as a hospice for several decades but was closed after a full-scale fever epidemic broke out within its walls. The hospice was quarantined and all within died of the fever. The hospice was then bought by a wealthy merchant as a warehouse. Upon his death it was turned over to the mayor who administered it, renting space in the halls to various traders. As many of the old traders have either perished or fled the town since the Occupation, a good number of the stalls here are vacant, giving the Halls a forlorn half-empty air.
The Hanging Garden: Outside the town is a small copse of trees from which bandits and robbers were hung in the early part of the century. It is from this that the copse has earned its name: “The Hanging Garden.” Many of the Robbers and Bandits were buried here at the foot of the trees they died in. It is debatable however if any of their loot was buried with them.
Other Locations on the Storm Coast
Although not an exhaustive list, the following entries deal with locations that can be found close to the town of Sornhill.
Death-Fall Quarry: Located south and east of Sornhill this is the place from which the strangely coloured rock used in the construction of the Red Tower was mined. Known in Flan legends as the Battlefield of Giants originally a huge extrusion of rock jutted out from a hillside. Discovered by Suel explorers they deemed the rock tough enough to be used in their fortifications and began to mine the area using captured Flan slaves, the majority of whom died here. Work stopped when the remainder of the hillside, destabilized by the removal of so much rock collapsed killing almost all the workers and guards present. Today the site is a lonely, desolate one. Still unstable sinkholes and small local collapses are common. Several Scarlet Brotherhood patrols were lost in the area and now none venture here.
Local legends say that the mine is haunted by those killed in the final collapse that even now attempts to dig themselves free, causing the sinkholes and other collapses. Any disappearances in the area are blamed on these restless spirits.
Sorn’s Hill: The feature that Sornhill is named after, Sorn’s Hill, is the burial site of an ancient dwarven hero who perished here. A combined army of Noniz and Dwur troops exterminated the lingering remnants of the humanoid tribes of the peninsula in a weeklong battle. Sorn, the greatest Dwur hero present was mortally wounded at the moment of victory and in accordance with his last wishes was laid to rest where he fell.
Centuries later the burial mound bears little resemblance to its original appearance. Several oak trees have taken root on the eastern face of the mound and the southern has partially collapsed after some would-be grave robbers attempted to tunnel into the mound in search of dwarven treasures. The only survivor’s garbled account of the very earth coming alive to swallow his companions has served to keep other treasure hunters at bay. The southern face is known as “Chekar’s Folly” after the leader of that ill-fated expedition.
Sorn’s Hill is a well-known local landmark used occasionally by travellers who cannot reach the safety of Sornhill as shelter. Those standing on the peak of the hill can see several miles in all directions and in times of trouble the hill has been used as a lookout post. Several small skirmishes have been fought here, the debris of which can still be found lying here and there.
The Barrow Fields: Located amongst the hills around Sornhill these barrows stand as a testament to the bravery of many fallen Flan warriors. These tombs were built long before the Suel conquered the region. Some have been disturbed and creatures within awakened. Others have been cleansed of undead and used as hideouts for rebels and bandits. However few have ever breached the inner and the elder barrows rumoured to be filled with the undead warriors, deadly traps, fell magic and great treasure. Much is still not known of the early Flan and scholars argue that the treasures undoubtedly hidden with the barrows could help them to understand more about these primitive people.
Celestian’s Court: Celestian’s Court is the name given to a stone circle located midway along the route between Sornhill and Killdeer in the Cantred of Saltirn. At the centre of the stone circle, which is located on a small hillock, is a stone monolith with a circular hole some two inches in radius carved through it. The whole is level with the horizon. Two times a year the sun is “in” this circle at sunset and sunrise and marks the winter and summer solstices. It was rumoured to have been built by the early Flan as a sort of calendar by their priests. Lately, it has gained popularity with priests of Sotillion and Telchur who travel here on the summer and winter solstice respectively to pray and celebrate.
Flannanot: An old abandoned hill fort located in the Cantred of Norland, the area gained its current name when the Onnwi fought a great battle against a conglomeration of local Flan tribes intent on resisting their advances. After several days of skirmishing, the Flan was driven back to the hillfort where they made their final stand. Amongst the Suel were several powerful spellcasters who at the climax of the battle destroyed much of the hill with powerful magicks. The dazed survivors were led off into slavery and the place swiftly fell into disrepair only sometimes being used as a way to stop by weary travellers intent on sheltering from the elements.
Several hundred years later an imperial patrol discovered several beaten gold and silver trinkets on the hill after digging a fire pit. This find sparked off a wave of treasure hunters and adventurers who came and dug on the hill but nothing else was ever found. A small village sprung up on the slopes of the hill to service the needs of the treasure hunters and the travellers who had begun to use the coast road with more regularity. The inner walls of Flannanot still stand to this day. Until recently the villagers of Harltonhill used the remains of the fort as a pen for their livestock at night. Today the hilltop is the sight of frenzied activity as rebel forces attempt to refortify it in expectation of a Brotherhood counterattack. It is not unknown for rebel soldiers to be seen here late at night digging up on Flannanot seeking to supplement their meagre pay with a find of ancient flan artifacts.
Harlton Hill: Named after the original owner of the first inn built on the slopes of the hill Harlton Hill is home to around 220 individuals. Built-in the lee of the old hillfort and linked to the coastal road by two spur tracks Harlton Hill originally sprung up to service the needs of the treasure hunters searching Flannanot for forgotten Flan treasures. Since then the treasure hunters have gone but the village still manages to survive, tending their crops and livestock and servicing the needs of those using the coast road to the north. A Mayor appointed by Duke Relaster oversaw the village. Slain as an example to others by the Brotherhood Harlton Hill has been without a Mayor for five years. A local man, Tarek Blackhands, has taken it upon himself to lead the villagers. The only surviving blacksmith in the village he is charismatic and popular although a private man much given to brooding and black moods.
Now back in rebel hands after a series of small actions here late in 590 CY the village is a focal point for the rebels, possessing strong defences. Kesh Arinohal was slain in the fighting to regain the village, as were most of her troops, and her body was severely mutilated by the outraged villagers before being cast into a shallow grave to the west of the village.
Work is currently being carried out on Flannanot to repair the old earthen fortifications in preparation for Brotherhood retaliation. It is a slow job as time and the elements have done a good job in smoothing and levelling the inner walls of the once-great fort. Plans also exist for the digging of a huge ditch around the rest of the village but currently, the manpower for such excavations does not exist.
The Saltirn: This short stream runs directly out of the northern Headlands, cutting a deep gorge for most of its length, emptying into the Gearnat not far from Sornhill. It is known for its many cataracts – of which Greenfalls – so named for the supposedly medicinal moss which grows thickly on the rocks around it – is the most famous.
Swallowfeld: Swallowfeld is a village that has grown up on three sides of Hillwater Lake. The lake itself is formed out of a natural depression bounded to the north, west and east by a small range of hills. Only to the south do hills not mark the extent of the lake. Two small rivers that flow out of the Headlands to the south feed the lake, which is drained (supposedly) via several underground watercourses that run northward emptying into the Gearnat although the truth of this is not known. Swallowfeld is named for the flocks of swallows that early Suel settlers discovered dwelling around the hills. They discovered that the broad flood plains of the two rivers were particularly fertile and ideal for grazing their cattle. Beyond this, the land rises slowly and is well-drained making excellent land for the cultivation of crops.
Before the occupation, almost five hundred people made their homes in the hills around the lake either farming the land or fishing the lake to survive. After the first few months of occupation, many Onnwalons were carried off to Scant and captivity. Many have not returned. The local mayor has not been seen since the beginning of the occupation and his fate remains unknown. In his place his eldest daughter rules. During the occupation, she managed to keep her magical talents a secret from the Kesh, Berat Regor, while giving the Resistance extensive assistance in infiltrating the area.
The centrepiece of the lake is a large island upon which grow nine huge oak trees known locally as the “Nine Giants”. Local legend has it that the nine trees are ancient nature spirits trapped in physical form. Whatever the truth, the trees are listed in the records of the first Suel to colonize the area.
The Western Portion Of The Gearnat Sea
The storm-lashed Gearnat hosted some of the busiest shipping lanes in the summer and winter before the Greyhawk Wars. During the spring and autumn, it is a treacherous place with storms whipping its surface into a succession of towering waves. Pirates from the Pomarj operated here frequently, sailing from the port of Blue in the south of that land. The navies of Onnwal and Nyrond combated them and the Imperial navy of the South Province operating out of the port-city of Prymp. Only Nyrond still maintains a significant naval presence here now. The Brotherhood still control much of Onnwal’s fleet and use it along with their pirate allies to block the Gearnat Straits, demanding a toll of all who would travel there. Ahlissa is currently rebuilding its fleet and will one day soon sail these waters in strength. What this may herald for Free Onnwal is unknown. In the east, the Gearnat is known as Relmor Bay. In the south Dunhead Bay separates Onnwal from the South Province and was, historically, the scene of many clashes between the two nations.
The Gearnat was once known as the Sea of Yar after a famed Suel navigator who opposed the expansion of the Kingdom of Aerdy. After the Aerdi conquered all the surrounding states they renamed the sea after a prominent Oeridian navigator.
The Storm Isles
This sub-tropical island cluster is in fact a great coral reef from which many of the islands have found their genesis. It is considered the more well-known of the island chains, despite the fact that much is still unexplored and unknown of it, due to the many pirate ships that hide in and amongst the numerous verdant isles. The isles are named for the great storms that weather them every spring.
Farmers and others have settled some of the islands for both mundane and more obscure reasons. The islands as such, have become a home for those who wish to flee the chaos of the mainland. Since the Rebellion began, many of the Brotherhood’s soldiers have been recalled to the mainland to fight in the war leaving the islands to descend into lawlessness. Many pirate lords have seized power and rumours of a hidden city amongst the islands abound. The Scarlet Brotherhood still has an iron grasp on many of the islands nearer to the mainland mostly due to the fanaticism of the Kesh Johran Teven.
The farmers of these islands mainly grow citrus (and other) fruits and rear pigs and sheep. Fishing is also a major industry here.
These islands have been the subject of many a tall tale, and feature prominently in the legends of the Flan and early Suel settlers, as lands of great magic and danger. However, none of the Scholars of Scant have been able to prove that these tales have any grounding in truth.
This spire of marble and coral that resembles a great shell rises 50 feet out of the sea some 30 miles off the Storm Coast. It is rumoured to be the home of many aquatic Olves and is shrouded in mystery. It is unknown who constructed the crumbling edifice (now home to several flocks of gulls). The sea and winds are eerily calm near the spire and few evil sea creatures dare come near the main spire but instead lurk in the many ruins surrounding it on the seafloor.
This forbidding castle stands like a black shadow looming over the horizon in the Cantred of Obelstone. It is perched ominously atop a massive free-standing pillar of rock separated from the mainland by a half-mile channel. Oblestone was built by early Aerdi Overlords as a symbol of their control over Onnwal, as a place to house their army and to keep many prisoners who suffered horrendous punishments in the name of the Overkings. It was then a symbol of terror to the pirates, many of whom spent their final days rotting in its many dungeons.
Now it houses the villainous Office of Sorcery and many enslaved and imprisoned people of Onnwal. No one has ever proven that escape from Oblestone is possible. Rumours of magicks that distort distance, cells without doors, walls that shift and shape, magical guardians and labyrinthine corridors abound, though none have yet escaped confirming these dread tales. All that is certain is that it is a fell place and full of horrors imagined and real.