The Great Road
The Great Road

The Great Road

The Great Road

Location: Outlands / Brinklands

It’s not that great, and it’s not a continuous road. But apart from that, the name is spot on, cutter. The Great Road is the name planewalkers give to the ring of gate-towns that circle the Spire, about 333 leagues out. In some parts of the Brinklands there is indeed a road between consecutive gate-towns, while on the other side of the Outlands, the Great Road is rather more informal, more of a suggestion of a path than anything set in stone. Here are some notes that a well-prepared planewalker may find useful to know in advance.


Roadside shrines decorate the Great Road near Excelsior, as well as locations to bathe and purify yourself before entering the burg. The road here is wide, paved and well-maintained, and overlooked by the floating citadels around Excelsior. The knights here pride themselves on keeping the lands around the town safe.


The Great Road of Ecstasy

The Trade Route in this part of the Great Road winds its way through farmland and well-maintained forest. A cutter doesn’t need to worry about bringing supplies because roadside stalls selling the freshest fruit and all manner of street food are readily available. Just bring a full purse.


The Great Road to Ecstasy is made from yellow bricks, and looks particularly beautiful at dawn. By night, the bricks glow with a soft phosphorescent light, making travel pleasurable at any time of the day.


The road here is cobbled, but heavily overgrown. Nearest to Faunel, although it’s frequently hacked back by travellers, the weeds and vines grow at an unnatural rate and the next caravan to come through has to expend the same effort again to re-tame the plants.


The Great Road around Sylvania winds through the forest like a bubber, around trees or even in tunnels straight through the trunks of some of the more implacable ones. Try and stay on the path here cutter, because fey creatures of the deep woods would like nothing more than to lure a traveller off.


The road near Glorium is not for the faint of heart; as it winds through the steep mountain valleys and fjords, there’s a perilous drop to oblivion on one side, and no wall to stop a careless cutter tumbling over. Not one to navigate in the dark, or when bubbed-up.


A confusing mess of paths worn by travellers with the occasional signpost that, if you’re lucky, points in roughly the right direction, which may or may not be aXos.


The Gaslight Road to Bedlam is maddening; as it winds through the gusty mountains you’ll spy Bedlam soon enough, but then the road turns away down a valley and you seem to be travelling the wrong way. And this happens again and again, until you start to doubt whether you’re even heading towards the burg at all. And just when you give up and decide to turn back in frustration, that’s when you arrive. If you’re lucky.


The Great Road around Plague-Mort

You’ll know you’re getting near Plague-Mort because the concentration of skulls on spikes steadily increases, and when you’re really close you can hear the sounds of conflict. The terrain here is treacherous, with switchback canyons and plenty of dead-end paths which are just perfect for an ambush. Don’t travel in these parts unless you’re able to defend yourself, or at least look like you are.


Either side of the Great Road around Curst are frequent gibbets containing the dried-out husks of prisoners executed for crimes against whatever. Some say they’re lucky to be allowed to leave the city, even as corpses. Don’t say you weren’t warned that the rules in this burg are capricious and the punishments harsh.


There’s no road here; there’s no point really. Just a flat gray plane of cracked mud, littered with the occasional detritus of war, or skeleton of an animal that got lost. You can see the scab that is Hopeless from a long way away, you just need to walk towards that. It’s a lot further than it looks.


Don’t stray from the road here cutter, going off piste might end up costing you your skin. The terrain here around Torch is lousy with scalding mud and unexpected geysers. The path is a mostly-safe one that navigates deftly between the environmental dangers. Just watch out for bandits who demand tolls or threaten to push you where the floor is lava.


The Turnpike of Ribcage is a toll-road that you’ll need to pay a garnish to use, at both ends—or else take the Shunpike Road which loops through the jagged mountains and is a favourite haunt of brigands who may or may not be in the employ of the owners of the Turnpike Road. Yes cutter, you’ll likely end up paying either way.


The Great Road around Fortitude

On the plus side, the road to Rigus is well-defended by Rigan troops, so travellers don’t need to worry about attacks from wandering monsters or brigands. On the minus side, the road to Rigus is well-defended by Rigan troops, who are sticklers for rules and inflexible at best. You’ll probably end up paying each patrol a garnish to look the other way unless your papers are in order. Papers you can only get once you’ve applied for them in Rigus, of course.


The Straight Road either side of Automata, a mostly-paved and well maintained road that ploughs arrow-straight over hills and through valleys, regardless of the terrain. 


The road around Fortitude is kept safe by volunteer militia and clean by street sweepers. Expect an easy journey if you’re a cutter who fits in, or to be challenged if you have the look of the Lower Planes about you. Nobody gets into Fortitude without going through a confessional booth though, and you’d better make sure you perform any acts of contrition you’re assigned as penance, or there’ll be trouble.

Source: Jon Winter-Holt,

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