2018-03-15, 06:43 PM (ISO 8601)
Re: Let's Build a Setting (Cityscape Edition!): Shale of the Underdark
18. Deathcap's Den
A small, out-of the way basement "cafe" at the end of one of Shale's myriad cramped cobblestone alleyways. Walk down a few steps from the alley to the door (the lantern above it has been enchanted with garish faerie fire, the password is "Psyche's Hyphae"), pass along a short, damp corridor, and you enter a dim parlour full of smoky air. The scent of mould is everywhere, but the many drug-addled wretches on the couches and cushions pay it no mind. They imbibe from their hookahs or down colourful narcotic beverages, utterly lost in their reverie.
The cushions, thick rugs, and tapestries hide uncontrolled blooms of lichen and fungus on the walls and floor, and in the back room the proprietor Deathcap, the exiled Myconid elder harvests more of his hallucinogenic offspring from the cadavers of his clients. Each crop of spores must germinate in a living host before bursting forth, to be served to the next customers - and Deathcap's drugs keep everyone blissfully unaware in the meantime.
Deathcap himself despises humanoids and longs to rule as a Sovereign, but the myconid "pests" elsewhere in the city abhor his cruelty and are content to eke out a living as scavengers.
19. The Lampades' Pavilion of Delights.
Permanently anchored at one of the docks, this pleasure-craft is more of a lounge and restaurant than a ship. Golden light from the countless lanterns adorning the ship spills over the "waters" of the Bloodlake, and the sounds of music and laughter drift through the air. Unlike the city centre, the ship affords a decent view of the Gate of Halda.
Owned (but not operated) by three sisters who dub themselves "the lampades", the Pavilion is a favourite retreat of the Shaleite upper crust. Nobles while away many an evening here, comparing the latest fashions from Clay and Blood Solutions or gossiping over the intrigues of the Nine Factions. It is here that one can scoff at the latest rumours about the Cellar Kingdom or Order of Kal-Kanet (which many still dismiss as an elaborate hoax), try delicacies from the duergar traders, or complain about the rabble outside the city. Wizards come here to try to relax - assuming they're wealthy enough to hire anti-paper leeches security while they're away from their estates. Even one or two Quicksilver Cabalists have been glimpsed here on occasion - though their presence tends to breed unease.
Needless to say, the Pavilion welcomes only the most select clientele. Any common fisherman or miner who attempts entry is laughed off (or sent to swim with the gibbering mouthers if she can't take a hint), and adventurers new to the city are unlikely to find a welcome.
The sisters know that in a city as lawless as Shale, the only rules are made with gold. They pay generous sums to the Gondoliers to keep the Pavilion licensed and "protected", and are currently negotiating a contract with the Lamplighters Guild to have a unique city lantern installed on the Chain Bridge hanging directly over the Pavilion's current mooring. The sisters would be the first to tell you about their donations to the city's stone fever hospice charity (though of course all Shale charities are fronts for money laundering and embezzlement).
One peculiarity of the sisters is that open religious worship of all Seven is forbidden aboard the Pavilion - instead they allow tribute only to the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. They beg the indulgence of their guests, claiming it as an affectation from their distant homeland. There were some rumours that they were in fact Angler-worshippers, but those were quickly quashed.
I set myself a challenge of trying to incorporate all the prior submissions into this post, haha.