Smouldering Rage
Smouldering Rage

Smouldering Rage

Smouldering Rage

A burg in the Sea of Frozen Flames, Ash

Burning hatred, white-hot passion, and the heat of battle eventually cool, leaving nothing but a shadow of their memory and the consequences of actions taken. But like a smouldering campfire, the heat is not completely gone, and sometimes, either through slow, careful prodding or in a sudden burst, the flames can spring back to life, brighter and hotter than before.

This is Smouldering Rage, a remote town on the Plane of Ash. It’s located in the Sea of Frozen Flames near the border to the Plane of Fire, and so the heat-draining effects of the plane are greatly lessened here, making the air temperature cold, but not unbearable, and also generally quite stable. The town houses about 3,000 cutters at any given time, and it rests on a huge slab of solidified lava, which drifted in from the Plane of Magma aeons ago. Most cutters live in and around a cluster of crystalline flames which have been hollowed out into towers.

Upon entering the burg for the first time, visitors immediately begin to feel Smouldering Rage’s calming effect. Instead of the usual “body-heat” draining effects that are found elsewhere on the Plane of Ash, the unique properties of this town drain the “emotional-heat” of its inhabitants. Passion, hatred, anger, ambition, and even love are all gradually drained. While the effect is similar, perhaps, to that found on the Gray Waste, it is missing the erosion of hope and dreams that accompanies that evil plane.

This does not mean that the inhabitants of the town are completely emotionless, however. The “calming”, as it is referred to by the natives, makes this a fairly pleasant place to visit, actually. People forgive each other quickly, because they forget their anger even quicker than it arises. Priests administer but do not preach or convert, for their religious zeal has been quelled. Would-be conquerors or despots quickly lose their ambition and drive for power. It is a town of tolerance of peace, not so much because the people wish it that way, but because they cannot muster up the emotion to change it.

Not everything about the town is so pleasant, of course. Merchants can still bilk travellers, and natives may be rude, obnoxious, or downright mean if they so choose. And just because the natives cannot maintain high emotional states does not mean they don’t remember incidents that would normally incite them. They are still as sentient as ever, even if they have limited ability to experience or display strong emotions. They have extremely good memories, and tend to carry long grudges, even if they never do get worked up enough to act on them.

The natives of the town are a mixed bunch. In addition to simple descendants of other natives (“A-yup! Ah lived muh whole life right here in dis here town”), many townsfolk are those who chose to migrate the town because of the “calming”, in order to escape burning passions inside them that threatened to consume them. Similarly, there are also those who were banished to the town by others, in the hopes that the “calming” would put an end to their burning passions. And, of course, there are those who are simply refugees, saved from the eternal chill of Ash by happening to stumble across the town.

But all this can change in a flash. Being near the border to the Plane of Fire, Smouldering Rage is particularly susceptible to the flux of energies commonly found near the borders. The burning wind is a surge of energy from the Fire that enters the town as an extremely hot, dry wind. The temperature of the town skyrockets, often hitting uncomfortable temperatures for humanoids for extended periods of time. But the effect this wind has on the inhabitants is the real problem. The heat also serves to inflame all the passions, hatreds, and ambitions that have been carefully nurtured since the last Wind. Violence frequently erupts in the streets, and the slightest provocation is enough to send even the most stoic and controlled of people into a complete rage. And then as quickly as it came, the burning wind leaves. The time frame is unpredictable. It will sometimes last 10 minutes, sometimes (rarely, thank the powers!) 10 weeks. And the frequency of the surges is just as random. It could be years between occurrences, or only a matter of days.

The primarily resources available in the town are weapons and art. The natives know that their day will come, and they intend on being prepared. Most natives have a weapon or three stashed away somewhere, and in times of calm may be particularly agreeable to trade or sell them. The art of the town is primarily carved lava rock, crystallised flames and lava glass. The great abundance of the workable, attractive material attracts many renowned sculptors to the town, and although their passion for their work may suffer, their skill and creativity remain on top form.

Source: Adam Reeve

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