Straster is a city surrounded by hills and mountain. The Bay of the Thousand Winds holds an unusual amount of grassland standing in the middle of desertic, arid shores. Hundreds of boats visit Straster every month. Its rainy seasons are long, allowing for many crops to grow. The size of the bay is such that Straster features a considerable number of farmlands.
Straster has an archaic, yet effective justice system. Jeldysa is the ruler of the city. She is a gnome, and she is the most powerful citizen. She is a master of deals and has amassed a great fortune over time. She runs the city with titanic precision. She knows what businesses run what, and where they run it. Her guards follow her everywhere, and her informants keep her up to date with every city gossip.
Her meticulousness has brought a period of greatness and peace. But at a cost. Since she is aware of everything that happens, she implemented a city guard called “The Drowning Patrol”. Her patrol caught a great number of people doing suspicious deals and many peace breakers. Then, they drowned the culprits in public. Such a demonstration of power and coldness was enough to prevent other troublemakers from breaking the law. And those who dare challenge her face elimination. Her spies identify threats and Jeldysa applies immediate action.
Even though many see her as a tyrant, she has done great things for the city. There are jobs and opportunities to open shops and businesses, they have a growing economy, their exported goods sell very well, and the city has a good administration. Straster has an aqueduct that brings water from the mountains. The network of pipes traverses the city in its entirety. The gates at the river help control who enters and leaves the city. Jeldysa and her councilors are developing a plan to cover the canals east of the city to add more land for farming. Straster people are welcoming and kind. It is a place full of people to meet and friends to make.
There are always barges, ships, and boats going to and fro. There are many fishermen at every hour. The fish market is crowded in the day when people shop. The smell is strong and overwhelming.
A fisherman is asking for help. His name is Darren. He tells the adventurers he lost his ring while fishing. He fought hard with a fish and the friction with the fishing rod took the ring off his finger. He begs them to recover it for him. A successful DC 14 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the location of the ring, the water is crystal clear and it reflects the sunlight from under the water. A successful DC 13 Strength (Athletics) check allows a character to swim deep enough to recover the ring.
Darren is grateful is they deliver his ring. He gives the adventurers the big fish he had caught earlier and hopes they enjoy eating it.
2. West Gate
Ed works at the west gate. He is one of the watchmen. When he sees the adventurers, he approaches and asks them a favor. She explains that Lina, the love of his life, has the same job as him but at the east gate (Area 8). He has a flower bouquet. He pays the adventurers 200 gold pieces if they can persuade Lina to come here and accept a gift from him.
3. “Chema” the patty vendor
A young teenager of no more than 14 interrupts the way of the adventurers on the street. He has a tray with patties. He says there are the most delicious patties in the world. He speaks fast and is very persuasive. Any creature who “Chema” tries to convince must make a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, they buy patties from the young teen. A failure of 5 or more causes the buyer to get patties for him and their companions because this discount was only available today, only today.
4. Fammy’s Tavern
Fammy is a large old woman. She is corpulent and tough. She only employs halflings as staff. She says she feels more comfortable intimidating them. She is conducting an ale drinking contest right now. There are five competitors scheduled already. Fammy has the contest tonight at the happy hour of her bar. Any creature participating in the contest must make three consecutive successful DC 12, 14 and 16 Constitution saving throws or lose on the first, second, or third round of the competition. Fammy writes the name of the winner of the week on the wall.
5. Straster Theater
Upon arriving at this street, a woman in distress runs to the adventurers and urges them to help her. She says an ogre is attacking her family. At the turn of an alley, a large, ugly ogre is about to smash his massive club on an innocent man and a boy. He crushes the two defenseless citizens while the woman cries in terror.
A successful DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals it is all an illusion. The man and the boy stand up and the ogre disappears. The boy is, in fact, a gnome. His name is Alvin. He explains he has an improv group and they perform in the city theater. They ask the adventurers to donate a few gold pieces if they enjoyed what they saw.
6. Grandma Betty’s House
Betty is standing outside her house asking for help. She claims rats have invaded her house. She describes a large rat who has built a nest in her garden and bred a bunch of baby rats. She does not offer any money unless the adventurers demand any. She hopes they can help her just because she is an old lady. She offers 3 silver pieces if asked for pay.
Entering the house reveals there are no rats. There is a black dog that gave birth to six puppies not long ago. They are cuddled in a corner in the garden. The dog is friendly, but protective of its puppies. A successful DC 11 Wisdom (Animal Handling) check allows a character to approach without upsetting the dog. The dog is wearing a collar. The dog’s name is Lily and it responds to its name by wagging its tail.
It takes a successful DC 12 Charisma (Persuasion) check to convince Betty that there are no rats but only her dogs. She thanks the adventurers with a grandmotherly grin. On the street, a neighbor tells the adventurers it has been like this for weeks now, someone convinces her of the same thing every day. A remove curse spell cures Betty of her affliction.
7. Straster Park
There are a few recreational areas in Straster. People gather in the day to relax in these small clearings. There is an old cat lady in this one. If the characters interact with her, a successful DC 12 Wisdom (Animal Handling) check allows a character to bond with the cats that accompany her. The lady gifts a kitten to the adventurers if her cats feel comfortable with them.
8. East Gate
Lina works in the east gate. She is fond of Ed (Area 2) but has not still grown a love for him. A successful DC 13 Wisdom (Persuasion) check allows a character to convince Lina to follow them to the east gate and accept a gift from Ed.
Failing to convince Lina results in her throwing the bouquet at one of the adventurers in a fit of rage and caprices.
Marlon the builder is a huge dwarf. He is as wide as a bull. He is taller than most dwarves and his disproportionately large biceps and triceps make it seem as if there were more muscles in the arms as normal. He has helped with most of the architectural developing in the city. The gates at the river and all the piping network are his life projects. A hundred years and the job of a thousand men made what Straster has today possible. He has a mural full of drawings. A line on the mural says “Those I have beaten”. He pays a friend of his to make a drawing of the losers. There are a little more than fifty drawings.
He offers 500 gold pieces to the man that can beat him at arm-wrestling. He does not accept gold for winning, as long as the contender accepts adding his face to the wall. He has been the unbeaten champion in Straster for years. To beat Marlon, a contender must succeed in three out of five versus Strength (Athletics) checks. Marlon has a + 7 to his roll.
10. The Statue of the God of Pirates
This big statue represents the god of pirates and sailors. It is 30-feet-tall and it is bathed in gold. A kid was playing with a ball and hit it so hard it got stuck almost at the top of the statue. He is crying. If the adventurers decide to help him, a successful DC 14 Strength (Athletics) check allows a character to climb the statue and recover the toy to give it back to him.
At that moment, the father of the boy is passing by. He notices what the adventurers do for his kid and rewards them with 100 gold pieces. He tells them his name is Garret, and that he is the owner of most of the farms in the city, and a good friend of Jeldysa, the ruler of Straster. He invites the adventurers to dine with him.
11. Garret’s House
If the adventurers helped the boy in Area 10, Garret receives the adventurers in his private mansion away from the city noise. He serves a magnificent dinner. He thanks them for their company and then explains he also wants to ask something from them. He tells them about the project to fill the canals between the farms. It requires enormous amounts of gold and time. And, in addition to that, monsters.
He asks the adventurers to get rid of the foul beasts that dwell in the depths of the empty rivers. He offers 2,500 gp for the job. The canals are infested with wormlike monstrosities with tentacles and beaks. 6 gricks attack the adventurers at the bottom of the openings.
He tells the adventurers to let him know whenever they plan to visit Jeldysa. He says it is advised to be in the company of a close friend of hers when meeting her.
12. Drowning Site
The Drowning Patrol is conducting a drowning ceremony at this very moment. A speaker on a dais is speaking in a loud voice. Four tall masked men hold a gnome on the improvised stage. After the speaker reads the gnome’s crimes and sentence out loud, the four men approach the river and drown the gnome in plain sight. They do it with precise and learned movements. A choreography they must have performed a thousand times already. The ceremony ends. The executioners carry the body away in a cart.
Jeldysa knows the adventurers are in Straster and she is aware of what they have done so far. Her informants keep her updated. She asks one of his personal assistants to deliver a message to the heroes. When the speaker sees the adventurers, he approaches. He delivers a formal invitation by a letter from Jeldysa. She summons the travelers to her manor.
13. Gabrielle’s Street Stand
Gabrielle has a small cart with items to sell. She claims to have the best sort of trinkets in the city. She approaches the adventurers to make a deal. She proposes to make an exchange of goods. She tells them to show her a magic item they are willing to part of. Then she shows the adventurers a large bull’s horn.
She tells them the horn belonged to a minotaur and that it has magical properties. She claims the blow of the horn can paralyze enemies but it only works when some creature is trying to kill you. A successful DC 14 Wisdom (Insight) check allows a character to know she is lying. If the adventurers accept trading an item with her, she changes her location so they cannot find her again.
14. Administration Office
When Keith sees the adventurers, he explains his situation. He is an employee of the city. He must ensure the water from the aqueduct flows well. It has been a few days that the flow of the water is too weak. He went up the aqueduct to find the problem and ran into a giant gelatinous monster. He found it on the top, blocking the hole in the mountainside. He offers 1,000 gold pieces to those who can get rid of it.
The adventurers must climb on the aqueduct and fight the gelatinous cube on the 10-feet wide surface.
The owner of the bar, a halfling named Norbert, is desperate. His star for the show tonight is sick and cannot make it. He requires a back-up as soon as possible. He asks the adventurers if any of them would be willing to earn some gold and make a halfling very happy and ease his anxiety.
A successful DC 14 Charisma (Performance) check allows a character to meet the clients and Norbert’s expectations. He pays 200 gold pieces for the night. Failing the check causes Norbert to pay 100 gold pieces and a forced thank you. A failure of 5 or more causes Norbert to stop the music on the spot and kick out the performer in public.
16. Jeldysa’s Manor
The sophisticated gnome lives in a gigantic manor. Her entourage consists of councilors, treasurers, masters of whispers, and bodyguards surrounding her at all times. She throws back orders to the things they whisper to her ear. Her voice is the law.
Jeldysa needs to get rid of some of her “Drowning Patrol” members. They went corrupt and have been abusing their power. She says she knows this because she knows everything that happens in Straster. She shares their location. Jeldysa wants these traitors alive. He offers 3,000 gold pieces for the job. The pay is halved if the patrol members die.
If the adventurers bring Garret to the meeting, Jeldysa praises their good taste for friends. She pays 4,000 for the same job just for Garret being present. If the patrol members die, the pay is halved as well.
The eight corrupt patrol members are hiding in a warehouse. 7 bandits and a bandit captain face the adventurers.
Citizens. People in Straster are kind and welcoming to tourists. Jeldysa’s law has made it very difficult for criminals to subsist. This has kept “the little people” satisfied and happy. But freedom thinkers and other detractors still exist.
Weather. The rivers almost surround Straster in its entirety. It has a considerable fish fauna and industry. It is a city that has a warm, humid, tropical wind and sun.
Smells. The various locations in the city flood it with a vast contrast of smells. From raw fish and sand to manure and farm animals.
Empty Canals. Jeldysa has the project to fill these canals with dirt. She means to enlarge the territory for farming. Marlon, the builder, is part of the organizing committee, along with Garret. This is why the canals are empty. Dams redirected the water and for now, they are testing the resistance of the dams, letting the ground dry, and getting rid of the vermin below.