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Architecture: Waystations

Architecture: Waystations published on

Valley of the Silk Sky - waystationsWaystations are a common feature of Muru Province, serving as safe ports of call throughout the wilderness. They’re generally roughly a day’s travel from one another or from a city or settlement, since it’s not really a good idea to sleep outside in Muru if you can help it.

The domicile, accessible via a long staircase, is located well up off the ground as a defensive measure, with a freight elevator leading to a storage area. The elevator has to be operated manually, and it usually rests in the “up” position to keep critters out.

A waystation is typically attended by an older runner who has retired from the more death-inducing parts of the biz. They keep the place clean and welcoming to weary travelers. Inside there are dormitory beds, cold running water (that huge bowl on top is a cistern), some not-very-fancy food, a medical kit, and a limited amount of replacement gear like clothing or knapsacks. Don’t get your hopes up re: hot showers.

The cistern collects what little rainwater falls here, and has a supplemental stream from a water source in the next province up. The water is run through a filtration system and mostly uses gravity to produce water pressure flow. If the cistern is full, excess water filters down to the next province below.

In exchange for use of the facility, it’s polite to leave something of value: a coin, a useful thing you found, or (if the attendant trusts you) a promise to bring something on your way back through.

Architecture: The Red Cities

Architecture: The Red Cities published on

Valley of the Silk Sky - red citiesThe Red Cities predate the giant web structure that houses the current provinces of Pocalo, but the people of the Red Cities were the ones who developed the technology to use cloud spider silk as a building material.

The earliest structures in the Red Cities were carved directly out of the mountainside rock. When the people needed to expand or repair the buildings, they initially used the cloud spider silk as a base for concrete or cement, mixing it with dust and gravel leftover from carving.

Later technological developments (domesticating and breeding the cloud spiders for different types and consistencies of silk) allowed them to build without the use of stone at all, thereby reducing the weight of the structures considerably.

The Valley is prone to earthquakes, so solid stone buildings are very susceptible to damage, whereas the flexibility of the web structures make them highly resistant to earthquakes.

The Red Cities were largely abandoned during the War of Light. Some have since been reclaimed (by bandit groups more often than not), while others were left to crumble. Although the Red Cities (both active and ruined) are technically governed by the laws of Pocalo, very few resources are actually spent enforcing those laws, giving the Red Cities a reputation as dangerous places to frequent.

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