Shackled Souls (Inactive)

Game Master Wareagle

Evil schemes are afoot in Cauldron and a dark corruption hides in the shadows pulling everyone's strings and no one is the wiser.

Cauldron is a small, conventional city with a mixed population of about 7,500 adults (79% human).

Cauldron is believed to have been founded some 700 years ago by Sundabar Spellmason. The story goes that Surabar led a small army inland from the recently founded city of Sasserine. He fought to rid the region of an ancient demonic taint. The events of which are re-enacted every year at the Demonskar Ball.

Cauldron was built in the caldera of an extinct volcano. The caldera provides both natural defenses and a supply of fresh water. The elevation keeps Cauldron’s temperatures below that of the surrounding jungle, giving Cauldron a roughly temperate climate. Cauldron is the most populous area in the Cauldron Region. Nearby villages include Redgorge, Kingfisher Hollow, and Hollowsky.

Cauldron is ruled by a Lord Mayor, elected to his position every two years. The post is currently held by Severen Navalant, whose term expires in roughly 20 months. Other important individuals in the city include Terseon Skellerang, captain of the guard, the members of the noble families, and Cauldron’s few wealthy merchant interests.

Cauldron’s buildings are relatively tightly packed together, and made primarily of volcanic stone and wood. The four main roadways are cobbled and wide enough to support several wagons abreast. Smaller avenues connect the four roadways, which form concentric terraces down to the lake in the center of the town. From outer to inner, the avenues are named Obsidian, Magma, Lava, and Ash. Sewage from privies runs underneath the streets in specially built trenches, which all houses feed into. The runoff outlets are dug deeply into the heart of the lake, which is periodically purified by the clerics of the town to ensure that any sewage that doesn’t sink into the volcano’s depths is neutralized.

A 50 foot high wall of black malachite surrounds the outermost ring of the city. The closer you are to the wall, the nicer the accommodations and the more likely you are to encounter nobility. The closer you are to the lake, the shoddier the construction and the more likely you are to get your coin-purse nicked. Houses directly on the lake are often built with stilts to protect against flooding during the rainy season in winter.

Cauldron boasts temples to St Cuthbert, Bahamut, Kord, The Raven Queen, and Pelor. Though other gods are worshipped, none have temples dedicated to them within the city.

Coins can be exchanged for trade bars and gems at Alameda Moneylenders, just off of Obsidian Avenue near the South Gate. Bars are also available from the Lord Mayor’s office. No surcharge is levied for exchanging coins for trade bars or gems.

Taxes in Cauldron are light. Citizens play a flat tax of 1gp per year, usually at the year end holidays. Merchants and nobility are charged a 5% income tax over the course of the year. There is a 1sp gate tax charged for any non-citizen entering one of the gates. Monthly gate passes can be purchased for 1gp, and the purchasers must submit to a rigorous background examination.

All inhabitants of Cauldron that own a building, or are part of a family that owns a building, is a citizen regardless of economic status. Most Cauldronites have a simple malachite ring made or given to them when they reach the age of majority. The ring always bears the symbol of the city, a mountain with a chunk taken out of the top, inside which is fitted a staring eye. Nobles often purchase very elaborate rings, or have extravagant broaches made to show their citizenship.

During the rainy season the central lake overflows, often putting the lower rings of the city at risk for flooding. The yearly Lowering of the Waters ceremony uses rituals of control water to reduce the risk.

Locations in Cauldron:
Bluecrater Academy

One of the tallest buildings in Cauldron, Bluecrater Academy is also the primary place of learning here. The building has five stories, each of which is dedicated to an increasing level of education. Financed by partially by tuition fees (but also by the support of nobles like Lady Ophellha Knowlern, the Aslaxins, and the Taskerhills) Bluecrater Academy is where the lucky youth of Cauldron go to learn a trade. The upper floors consist of extensive libraries and researcher’s offices.

The Brass Trumpet

An abandoned tavern.

Cathedral of Wee Jas

This towering structure is one of the most impressive and beautiful in Cauldron. The church of Wee Jas has always been powerful in Cauldron, but not as well liked as the churches of Kord or St. Cuthbert, since the clerics of this church tend to be standoffish, curt, and even creepy. The clerics of Wee Jas are responsible for dealing with the unclaimed dead of Cauldron, and maintain vast catacombs for anyone whos rich enough for burial but doesn’t have a personal crypt. Most of the dead in Cauldron are cremated. The cathedral is run by Embril Aloustinai, although she rarely sees visitors and leaves the day-to-day operations to a cleric named Ike Iverson. The cathedral is also staffed by a cleric named Calmus Vel and several lesser clerics and ten acolytes in training. The cathedral maintains a supply of healing potions and scrolls as well as other religious equipment that may be purchased. The most common items are listed on the table: Cathedral of Wee Jas Goods & Services.

Church of Saint Cuthbert

The two-story Church of St. Cuthbert, its white marble walls suffused with veins of vivid blue, stands in stark contrast to the buildings of bare black stone that flank it on the north end of Obsidian Avenue. A pair of white marble statues depicting armored warriors stands on either side of the temple’s heavy oaken door. Each of the statues raises a great mace to the sky. Above the door’s marble architrave are boldly inscribed the following words: “WITHIN LAW LIVES HOPE.” Sarcem Delasharn was the high priest until he was recently murdered. A foreboding man in his middle years with iron-gray hair, whose reputation for firm fairness probably stemmed from his policies about protecting the downtrodden, particularly, his interest in the Lantern Street Orphanage. In the last few years the orphanage has received much outreach support from the church of Saint Cuthbert and his faithful congregation. It is now up to Jenya Urikas the new high priest to carry on Sarcem's Legacy. She has several subordinates who handle additional duties around the temple and around town. A paladin of St. Cuthbert, named Alek Tercival guards the temple and occasionally patrols the city. The church maintains a supply of healing potions and scrolls as well as other religious equipment that may be purchased. The most common items are listed on the Table: Temple of St Cuthbert Goods & Services.

Church of Pelor

This small yellow tower is tended by a single cleric named Kristof Jurgensen. His resources are limited of late. The shrine to Pelor has always been fairly small and minor in Cauldron especially since Kristof’s three superiors recently died under mysterious circumstances, leaving him in charge of the entire shrine. The shrine maintains a supply of healing potions and scrolls as well as other religious equipment that may be purchased. The most common items are listed on the Table: Shrine of Pelor Goods & Services.

City Gates

Citizens of Cauldron are allowed to pass through the city gates for free; visitors are required to pay a 1sp gate tax. A frequent visitor to Cauldron can purchase a month gate pass for 1gp after a rigorous interview process. Gate passes are a hot-commodity on the black market.

Coy Nixie

The Coy Nixie is a high-class tavern and dancehall owned and operated by the Aslaxin family. Although the prices here tend to be nearly double the normal asking price, the food and drink are rivaled only by the cusp of sunrise. These two locations have a healthy competition—while the Cusp is generally held to have better food, drink, and entertainment, there are no membership fees at the Coy Nixie.

Cusp of Sunrise

The Cusp of Dawn is a well-known dinner club and Inn for nobles. Access is by invitation from a member only, and the membership list is reputed to be quite exclusive. A trip along Obsidian Avenue reveals an ivy covered cross-shaped building with a circular tower that stretches as tall as the city walls. An engraved sign on the ironbound door says “C.o.S.—Members Only.” Soft music and laughter can often be heard from within. This high-society club is a favorite place for Cauldron’s rich and powerful to meet and relax. It is owned and operated by Lady Ophellha Knowlern.

Dark Angels Charter House

This building until recently was Ghelve’s Locks but has since been purchased by the Dark Angels Adventuring Company.

Drunken Morkoth Inn

This is perhaps the most popular inn in the city. A regular stop for many merchants and traveling adventurers, the combination of comfortable beds, good food, and reasonable prices make it a favorite among the city’s returning visitors. Each of the rooms here is decorated with a humorous painting of Cauldron’s legendary lake monster, a large morkoth. The paintings depict the morkoth in any number of embaressing and ridiculous scenes, always with the morkoth drunk and confused, and often in incongruous locations.

Garthun Imports

This well-kept building houses the offices of Adrick Garthun, a prominent merchant whose import of alcohol, tobacco, exotic sweets, and seafood has catapulted him to the height of success.

Ghelve’s Locks

The former residence and shop of Keygan Ghelve, a gnomish locksmith, reputed to have been one of the finest locksmiths in the world. A small Turret dominates the façade of this two-story black stone building. Iron bars are embedded in the thick window frames. While Keygan owned the shop you could see a lovely display of locks from large to small, simple to complex beyond the Turret’s ground-floor windows. To the left of the turret, above a heavy oak door, swung a simple sign that read: “GHELVE’S LOCKS.” The storefront smelled of wood and pipe smoke. Two padded chairs used to flank a hearth containing a small yet lively fire. The fireplace’s carved mantle often bore a tinderbox, a small vase of dried smoke leaves, and a finely wrought collection of pipes. A burgundy strip of carpet lead from the entrance to the wall across from it, where you could see dozens—perhaps hundreds—of keys hanging from tiny hooks. A handsomely engraved mahogany counter stretched along one wall. Behind it hung a red curtain that neatly hid the rest of the store. Keygan liked his customers to feel comfortable. The padded chairs, hearth, smoking pipes, and other accoutrements were intended to put visitors at ease. The keys on the wall open various locks. When Keygan sold a lock, he would point to the key that opened it and allows the customer to remove it from the wall—a bit of ceremony goes a long way.

Gurnezarn’s Smithy

This smithy is generally regarded as the finest such establishment in the city. Its owner, Phalian Gurnezarn has long held his own against the relentless aquistion and domination of his trade by the Lathenmires, and has his own skill and loyalty of his customers to thank for the fact that he’s now the only non-Lathemire smith in town. As a result, his prices are the highest in town but as he is the only source of masterwork weapons and armor this doesn’t hurt his business too much.

House Rhiavadi

This may well be Cauldron’s most conspicuous display of wealth. Lady Rhiavadi has long been one of the city’s wealthiest nobles. Common knowledge holds that much of her wealth is inherited, but rumor holds that she has her hands in a large number of illegal enterprises as well.

Lakeside Pavilion

This open pavilion is one of the oldest structures in Cauldron. Said to have been formed via magic cast by Surabar Spellmason himself, the pavilion is traditionally where the lord mayor issues announcements and decrees. It has also become a favorite place after dark for illicit meetings.

Lantern Street Orphanage

The orphanage rests on the corner of Lantern Street and Lava Avenue, it’s charcoal-colored stones held together with mold encrusted mortar. The windows both sides are tightly shuttered, but a few slivers of light manage to escape from within. Lanterns hang on either side of the oaken front door, mounted to which is a green copper knocker shaped like a smiling gargoyles visage, its nostrils pierced by a copper ring. The ground floor of the orphanage is dimly lit and contains a main hall (with a staircase leading to the second floor), a kitchen with stairs leading down to a cellar pantry, a dining hall, a playroom for the children, a schoolroom, a small bathroom and staff quarters. The second floor is divided into three rooms: A spacious bathroom with two large tubs and two large bedrooms filled with cots. One of the bedrooms currently holds 19 girls; the other holds 31 boys.

Lathenmire Manor

Given another few years, the Lathenmires could be inducted into Cauldron’s nobility. As it stands, the family is as rich as most of the other nobles, having effectively cornered the market on the local arms and armor trade. The Lathenmire manor is a sprawling structure with several training rooms and trophy halls on it’s ground floor.

Lord Mayor’s Residence

This Large Compound is the oldest structure in the city. The traditional seat of power for the town, the estate’s ownership has been held by the Navalant family for the last 200 years. The current lord mayor, Severen Navalant is well liked.

Maavu Imports

Although he keeps a home in Redgorge, local merchant Maavu Arlintal spends much of his time here in Cauldron at his office. The modest two-story building has several meeting rooms and a bookshop on the ground floor, and a small apartment on the upper floor.

Maavu Warehouses

Local Merchant Maavu Arlintal keeps several in Cauldron. As with most other merchant warehouses, about 50% of the holdings here are various forms of food stores for the city that are kept and sold by the Grocer’s Guild. In return for donating half his storage space, Maavu enjoys a greatly reduced tax rate.

Meat on a Stick

Just north of Magma Avenue is a well-weathered red-brown tent adorned with a tattered banner featuring a simple red sausage. The tempting scent of spices and roasting meat drift out of the open flap. Inside a jovial gnomish merchant serves stuffed sausages on a stick to a surprising number of patrons. Meat on a Stick has been a fixture in Cauldron for more than twenty years but the smiling proprietor is new, the gruff but well meaning Deamer Ardol retired less than a year ago and sold his business to Hobart Lund.

Minuta’s Board

This low cost inn and flophouse caters to anyone who can’t afford to stay at Cauldron’s better inns. Prices here are 75% normal but the owners make no guarantee against theft or loss of property.

Orak’s Bathhouse

Orak’s Bathhouse is a squat, windowless building of dark stone. The baths are open from noon to midnight everyday.

Shrine of Heironeous

If anything the Shrine of Heironeous is smaller than the church of Pelor. The shrine, a relatively recent addition to the city of Cauldron was established only 150 years ago when a noble family dedicated to the worship of Heironeous settled in Cauldron bringing the worship of their patron deity with them. About fifty years ago when the patriarch of the family disappeared in the wilds surrounding the city while hunting some ancient evil, the small support in the city for the shrine dwindled. Today, an aging priest and two acolytes staff the shrine.

Skie’s Treasury

Numerous Stores in Cauldron sell some magic items and gear, but only one of them makes its sole business buying and selling magic items to adventures: Skie’s Treasury. Skie’s Treasury is a modest building crafted from blocks of volcanic stone the façade of the building bears dozens, if not hundreds of sigils and symbols that have been carved in the face of the stone with chisels. One door and a pair of tiny windows face the road and overlook the lake below. Above the door a sign proclaims the establishment to be “Skie’s Treasury”, but more impressive are the numerous items of treasure—rings, coins, wands, necklaces, rods, potions, scrollsand more—that seem to slowly orbit the sign and shine with soft golden light. Every now and then, two of the items bump against each other, ringing softly like a wind chime. Inside, the stores shelves are fairly sparse, but never empty. Skie sells enough magic to keep herself in comfort, and has no real ambition to make a fortune at the job. Each of the items on her shelve is kept in a glass cabinet under lock and key, displayed on a silk pillow with a small placard that describes the item’s known history, powers, and what party sold the item to Skie. She doesn’t normally allow shoppers to physically inspect items. A current list of what is available for purchase in Skie’s Treasury is available from the DM.

Slippery Eel Tavern

The Slippery Eel is a favorite tavern for the city’s miners, plantation workers, and other working class citizens. The food and drink is cheap, and the town guard tends to ignore the place, making it a handy site for illicit deals and clandestine meetings.

Sure Foot Livery

Sure Foot Livery is the largest (and only) livestock and livestock accessory business in town. The business is run by a no-nonsense halfling-woman named Tippys Surefoot.

Taskerhill Manor

This massive manor is four stories in height, and is easily the most ostentatious of Cauldron’s nobles homes (with the possible exception of House Rhiavadi). The manor is home to the fantastically rich Taskerhill family. Lord Taskerhill is the wealthiest noble in Cauldron. He owns several mines in the nearby mountains as well as a prominent workshop that ships exquisitely crafted obsidian furniture and knick-knacks to the indolent cities of the north.

Temple of Lordly Might

The church of Kord is nearly as popular and powerful in Cauldron as the Church of St. Cuthbert, if only because they sponsor numerous sporting events and demonstrations for the people of Cauldron through out the year. This church is currently headed by a male half-orc cleric named Asfelkir Hranleurt he is attended by other lesser clerics and a dozen acolytes in training.

Tipped Tankard Tavern

This tavern is typically regarded as the best place in the city for common folk to get a drink (the Coy Nixie and the Cusp of Sunrise both held better reputations but are generally out of the price range for the working citizen). It’s a favorite place for off duty city guards, and as such, brawls are fairly rare.

Town Hall

Cauldron’s town hall is a single-story building and one of the oldest structures in the city. The building serves as a place for the Lord Mayor and his advisors to hold meetings with the nobles and other movers and shakers of the city, but they don’t live there. Records of ownership, historical documents, and similar archives can be found here. The town hall is patrolled regularly by guard detachments.

Tygot’s Old Things

Tygot Mispas, a 120-year-old halfling retired from adventuring for two decades, owns a small but well-stocked antiquity shop on Lava Avenue. “Tygot’s Old Things” specializes in non-magical art objects gathered from across the known world. Tygot himself has excellent commercial contacts in the capital city of Sasserine, and frequently buys old documents and art objects from local adventurers. Tygot’s best customers include the lord mayor himself and many nobles in Cauldron. His shop is a two-story structure with a small flat on the upper floor and a well-organized business area on the lower. The main shop itself contains an impressive assortment of less valuable antiquities, mostly vases, statuettes, small furniture, and tapestries. Apart from the occasional trip to the Coy Nixie for a frugal meal, Tygot spends his time writing his memoir and casting diminuative plaster replicas of Cauldron’s monuments (Town Hall, the Cathedral of Wee Jas, the Lakeside Pavilion, etc.). He sells these replicas in his shop for 1gp each

Vanderboren Manor

This large manor houses the members and servants of the Vanderboren family, Cauldron’s newest nobles. The Vanderborens are the equivalent of real estate tycoons. Less respected by the other nobles because they are self-made, they constantly look for ways to make the other nobles look bad to increase their standing among their new peers. They also own and fund the Lantern Street Orphanage. Both Vanderborens got their start on their feet: Premiach as a runner for a messenger service and Aeberrin as a server in a tavern.

Weer’s Elixirs

Owned and operated by Vortimax Weer, a retired adventurer this cramped shop is the go to place in town for alchemical items and potions. A wide selection of potions, magical dusts, elixirs, and other similar wondrous items may be found here. Vortimax himself is a cranky old curmudgeon who has little patience for youngsters, and even less for anyone who tries to haggle his high prices. He is one of the most practiced wizards in town and spends much of his time teaching alchemy and magical theory at Bluecrater Academy.

Westkey’s Map Emporium

Bolar Westkey, a gnomish cartographer, who recently settled in the area, runs this modest shop. He sells maps of all manner, including regional and local maps as well as a fair collection of treasure maps. Standard maps run from 2 to 20gp, while his treasure maps are sold for 100gp a shot (with no guarantees of the map’s validity).

Zanathor’s Provisions

While to the untrained eye there may seem to be nothing unusual going on at this general store, its owner, Bjellkir Zanathor has the unique honor of being the only living citizen in Cauldron who has seen the Crater Lake Monster. He’s always ready to tell the story of how his small fishing boat was attacked late one night and sunk by the fantastic creature several years ago. The thing bit off his leg and left one of it’s teeth lodged in his hip. Zanathor is willing to show off his scars, wooden leg, and the tooth, which he’s mounted on a wooden display that hangs above his counter.

Cauldron Map

Cauldron side view