21:02 ST

Cobblestone Cavern


Cavern Description

The cavern looks enormous at a glance, although it’s impossible to tell exactly how large it stretches. The ceiling arches high overhead, but a thick fog hangs heavy on the ground, making it hard to see much past the town’s walls. Rumors of magic and ruin abound. The stories tell of an ancient civilization, powerful beyond imagining, which rose and fell eons before the great winter and left behind a handful of relics. These relics seem to be the source of the cavern’s unpredictable magic, but no one’s been able to puzzle them out yet.

Cobbletown is a small town packed into the space near the cavern’s entrance, where the magic is most stable. Some of its buildings are new, but most of them have been here since before the Mycenians arrived. The first enterprising townsfolk built on what already existed, using wood and stone to shore up the strange, smoothly-metallic structures they found falling apart in the grass. Crumbling walls mark the boundary between the town and the wilderness, and just beyond them lies Lickshaw Lake and the river that feeds it.

The grass grows lush past Cobbletown’s walls and quickly turns into overgrown greenery near the lake. Broken runestones litter the fields, almost invisible beneath all the grass and leaves. There’s a persistent dampness in the air that might explain why the flora flourishes—but then again, maybe it’s the magic, fluctuating wildly the deeper you go into the cavern.

 


Artwork by nobodies13

 

 

 

Cavern Statistics
Discovered: Soup, Stones, and Snakes (Event, Summer 2021)
Location: Deep in the Cave, isolated from other settlements
Magic Stability: Highly unstable, particularly in the presence of runestone pieces
Environment: Humid and damp; mild temperatures; thick, foggy air; often rainy. Appears to be built upon the ruins of a previous society, the memory of which has been long lost to history.
Population Density: Low - few longstanding residents, but growing due to recent Adventurer’s Guild interest
Notable Locations:
  • Cobbletown
  • Lickshaw Lake
  • The Passage
  • The Soup
  • ?

Mysterious Runestones

These chunks of magically-infused stone are found throughout the cavern, and highly volatile. Close contact has been known to cause various magical effects to befall any within range. Crouchy is known to have a particular interest in these artifacts.

Runestone Studies Log:
Somewhere in town, a tiny white flower pushes up in between the cobblestones, taking advantage of an infinitesimal crack in the road. Nearby sits a runestone — not a particularly powerful one, but with enough magic in it to give the flower an extra push, letting the seed burst open even trapped below the stones. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the flower — maybe it’s a little larger than others of its species, or maybe there’s a shimmer of magic flickering in its petals — other than, perhaps, the fact that it wouldn’t exist at all without the runestone’s help. One day someone will discover the runestone and remove it from its resting place, and the flower will wilt; but for now, it continues to bloom, stretching towards the sky.
Writing by -Aku

 

Runestone Studies Log:

Elya pulls out a telegram.

PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY MORE RUNESTONES COME ASAP.

What could be going on?

Alex looks up when she enters his office. There’s a distinctive smell of burnt paper.

“What’ve you found?” Elya asks, sitting down.

Alex grimaces. “Turns out linguistics can have its hazards after all.”

He pushes forward a piece of paper with runestones laid out on it. “I arranged everything you sent me. They look like pieces of a larger whole.”

Writing by Chimerical

 

Cobbletown
  • Crouchy’s Goods

    Like most general stores, Crouchy’s Goods carries an assortment of items for both the town’s residents and for visiting adventurers. Shelves line the perimeter, and a long counter runs the length of the wall opposite the door. Crouchy himself can usually be found behind this counter, though visitors usually mistake him for part of the decor until his first CROOOOOAAAAAK.

  • The Wet Trout

    The Wet Trout may feel familiar to anyone who’s ever gone adventuring. Every town needs a tavern, and this one is no different. Mycenians come here for gossip and something to drink, and the Trout’s proprietor does an excellent job of maintaining just the right atmosphere for both. Strategic bits of lamplight create a cozy feel, and the tables are all crammed together to make conversing (and eavesdropping) easy. Finnigan presides over the bar, pouring out ale and making appropriate noises of interest and/or sympathy where needed.

    Don’t look too carefully into your mug; things don’t ever really dry out here, so things tend to…flourish.

    Game Location: Bumbleberry Brew
  • Mysterious Building

    One would expect a house to be on a hill. Why else build grand tall windowpanes and viewing balconies in every available outer wall? This one is different, built to take up the entirety of the pit which forms its foundations. Wide windows and balconies open up to view rock cave walls, and only the very tip of the mansion’s highest tower can be seen poking out from above the pit. Indeed, from a distance it would seem like a very small building indeed, until one approached and saw just how far down it went, and how tall it could be. Perhaps the architects really wanted some good views of the rock walls they looked upon.

    The inside is no less strange. Since the rocky walls of the pit inhibit natural lighting from entering though conventional means, an array of crystals is arranged strategically at various corners and walls. The light comes in through a crystal at the very top of the house, and beamed from there into every room through this crystal array, making the house very well lit indeed, albeit in strange colors. And of course lacking sunlight, a well placed torch at the top of the house right next to the source crystal can work in a pinch.


    Overall it’s an odd house, but quite fun indeed.

    Writing by Meesh
  • Notable Residents


    Crouchy

    Crouchy is your typical, everyday giant toad. A shrewd businessman, he is the proprietor of Cobbletown’s premier (and only) general goods store. With his shrewd eyes, keen mind, and sticky fingers, Crouchy knows everything that’s going on in town—and he also doesn’t tolerate any negotiating in his store. The only exception is for Mycenians who bring in Runestone Fragments. Crouchy has a strange fascination with the ruins and the Soup, and he’s always willing to trade his goods for runestones to add to the collection.

    Finnigan (and Gil)
    He may look slimy and have a bit of a dead-fish-stare, but nobody pours a Bumbleberry Brew quite like Finnigan. Together, he and his business partner, Gil, run the Wet Trout. The two of them are always happy to entertain, whether their customers be town regulars or adventurers from far-off caverns.
The Passage

Ambient Sounds by Oxton


On the southeastern edge of the lake, a hole has been dug between the close-growing trees. A set of stairs leads into the earth, winding down into a darkness that smells of dampness and fish. At their foot lies a walkway that extends into the lake itself. Some force of magic or science keeps the water at bay, creating a passage that leads to the middle of the lake, its boundaries defined by immense walls of water within which gray shadows swim.


Artwork by Caesium

Lickshaw Lake


Artwork by Sherushi

A swampy lake sprawls just past the outskirts of the town. Metal glints temptingly from its depths, but a layer of algae across the lake’s surface makes it hard to see what lies within. Long, sinuous fish twine through the water, barely visible within the murky water. Grass and moss grow in abundance around the lake’s perimeter, but there appears to be a spot where the vegetation has been tamped down, creating a half-hidden path into the trees.

Game Location: Snish

Adventures set in Lickshaw Lake
The Soup

A deep, old growth forest cradles the edge of Cobbletown, shrouded in mist. The fog itself is thick, heavy, and strangely warm—it seems to weigh even the most steadfast adventurer down, and the deeper one travels into it, the harder it is to breathe. Visibility here is poor—to the point that if one were to extend an arm, they might be able to make out a vague smudge of their hand, on a good day. This treacherous area remains largely unexplored, and acts as a threshold into the unknown.

Tales from The Soup: The Lost Grove

Writing by kessaria

Snowflake made her way through the Soup, squinting in a vain attempt to see through the thick fog. She was alone today; when she had gone to the tavern to meet up with Stone, the Kelph was nowhere to be found.

A soft breeze caused the thick fog to clear a bit, revealing a bamboo grove ahead of her. Curiously, she approached it, stalks brushing gently against her wings as she entered. Snowflake felt like she was being watched, but when she first looked around, she saw no one.

Suddenly she heard a soft, almost childlike giggle off to her right. Snowflake turned and saw an Ineki with red-patterned white fur and dark paws watching her from behind a bamboo cluster. An air of playful mischief seemed to surround them.

“Hello,” she called out. As soon as she spoke, they turned and started to bound away, but turned to look at her. Snowflake got the feeling they wanted her to follow them. As soon as she started to follow, they turned and vanished deeper into the grove.

 

?

Nobody knows what, if anything, lies beyond the Soup. If anyone’s made it, they’ve never returned to tell about it—at least, not with any amount of proof.

 

If one stumbles through the soup for long enough they might begin to see a soft light illuminating the fog. Should you continue towards this light you’ll begin to notice thin vines creeping up the trunks of the trees. Continue far enough and these vines will begin to be adorning with delicate pink flowers. The soft pink glow of these flowers produces just enough light for travelers to see the shimmering golden pollen they give off. The gold drifts through the air in such an abundance that if one travels through the thicket they would come out the other side covered in a coating of gold. Other than bestowing golden freckles to those that travel under them it is unknown what properties these strange flowers hold. If you can find them through the fog maybe you can find out yourself.
Artwork & Writing by WaterWishes

 

A day’s walk from the edge of the Soup lies a vast maze constructed of huge rune stones. The sharp-edged stones are embed with smooth blue gems and decorated with glowing runes. Better move fast; one of these huge stones is not like the others, and he’s watching your every move.
Artwork & Writing by nope

 

Native Flora and Fauna
Bumbleberry Bush

The bumbleberry bush is native to this cavern and has never been spotted elsewhere in the Cave. It sits low to the ground and is covered in pale, slender leaves that feel slightly spongy to the touch. During the summer months, purple berries cover the bushes, sometimes in such great quantities that they drag the bushes down. The berries are edible, if somewhat bitter, and are used in everything from pies to the town’s favorite Bumbleberry Brew.

Wildgrow

Wildgrow is what many would consider to be a weed. It grows quickly, crawling and climbing over any available surface and easily overtaking just about any obstacle in its path. Left to its own devices for even short periods of time, this vine can leave even a well-maintained area looking overgrown and wild - hence its name. It’s said that the only way to be rid of this plant is by digging up its base and roots… and with a single plant able to tangle over several miles, that is no simple task.

Blue Flower Acorn Tree

These wispy trees are a common sight throughout the cavern. They gain height rather quickly, but otherwise tend to be slow-growing, only accumulating any notable girth after many years. Late spring sees an explosion of bright blue blooms among their branches, which eventually turn into small, edible acorns. The trees shed these acorns in early autumn, at which point they become something of a local delicacy - for a few months even outshining the beloved bumbleberry in popularity.

Dirt Bean

A hardy little tuber that will grow just about anywhere it’s planted, dirt beans are a staple part of the Cobbletown diet. They may be a bit bland on their own, with a somewhat gritty texture that takes some getting used to, but they easily absorb the flavors of whatever they’re prepared with.

Frogsbane

This squat fern is commonly found nestled along the shores of Lickshaw Lake. Its leaves are coated with a soft velvet, and the straw-like stems contain a sweet nectar-like substance that many townsfolk consider a delightful treat. The local amphibians, however, find everything about this plant to be quite repulsive. This includes Crouchy, who would just love to see it eradicated.

Morning Whistle

These cheery yellow flowers only open their petals on particularly sunny mornings. With Cobbletown’s typically damp weather, this tends to be an uncommon sight—and a welcome enough one to cause even the grouchiest of Mycenians to let out a whistle.

Red Thoughtcounts

This beautiful flower grows in sporadic clusters throughout the cavern. Red is most common, but there have been occassional sightings of other varieties. With its heart shaped petals and bright colors, it’s no surprise that someone’s first thought was that a bundle of these would make a lovely gift for their beloved. Unfortunately, when plucked, the stems of these flowers leak a sticky goo, which gives off a deathly pungent odor not unlike curdled milk. Even a small drop of this secretion could quickly clear a room. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

King’s Crown

Bold and contrasting colors make this an easily spotted mushroom. Creative types often seek it and grow it at home, finding inspiration in its delicate golden fringes. It is also easily found, as the fruiting body grows out in the open and is amongst the longest-lasting in the cave. It has a particularly strong, spicy flavor that can be overwhelming when used on its own, and inexperienced chefs often throw their dishes wildly off-flavor by applying too much at once. However, if paired with the right ingredients it’s possible to offset the spiciness enough to allow a subtler creaminess to shine, turning the mushroom into a culinary delight.

Tunnel Crawler

This ‘shroom prefers to grow in sheltered, nutrient-rich regions that allow a relatively easy life, though it proves surprisingly resilient and is fully also capable of flourishing under harsher conditions. It’s a slow-growing specimen, and as such is often seen as laid back, unconcerned, and maybe a little lazy. However, it hides an intense flavor which is best used in very small quantities, as eating too much of it at once has been known to induce anxiety, fever, and a number of other undesirable side-effects.

Blushing Heart

One would think that this mushroom would be easily spotted, but it always manages to grow in the quietest and most poorly-explored places, making it a rare find.  This robust ‘shroom looks like it would have some well-rounded flavors, but it proves surprisingly neutral and its earthy, mildly spicy undertones are usually missed unless special attention is paid to the taste. It’s often used to describe someone who doesn’t stand out unless you take the time to get to know them.

Lakewater Vines

A thick-growing vine-like algae that grows throughout Lickshaw Lake. It pulls apart quite easily, and commonly ends up tangled in fishing lines and wrapped about any swimmers who brave the waters. When dried and seasoned, it actually makes quite the tasty snack.

Snish

Endemic to Cobblestone Cavern, sneesh are a common sight in the area of Lickshaw Lake. They slither in and out of the marshy grasses, and can use their pectoral fins like legs to pull themselves across any surface that’s even moderately damp. They possess a thick slime coat which protects their scales, and tend to leave a long, goopy trail in their wake. Nobody knows quite how large a snish can grow, but rumor has it that there are some particularly monstrous specimens in the depths of the lake.