The Dry Season
Adventuring in the Islands
The Islands’ generally unstable political atmosphere and the harsh environment of the catacombs both provide great opportunities for adventure, though of different kinds. Adventurers in the Celestial Kingdom and the Elven nations are often hired to clear out old ruins or reclaim lands gone wild from monsters and strange cults. Those who stick closer to urban areas are typically called agents rather than adventurers, and usually find employment sabotaging merchants’ rivals or disrupting plans of feuding nobles. Adventurers are usually seen as undisciplined layabouts by the professional mercenary companies who dominate elven politics outside the major cities, but are occasionally called on for specific jobs when the companies lack the resources to accomplish something themselves.
Agents are unknown among the Gnomes, who prefer to resolve conflicts between their communities reasonably and democratically, but they have many other reasons to hire adventurers. Hunting down monsters – whether for research or because the results of research have escaped – and volunteering as magical test subjects are both easy and regular sources of work.
The catacombs don’t offer wealth or stores of magical items; the inhabitants rarely have either. Adventurers stepping into the undersides of the Islands usually seek either independence or new challenges. Independence, because the catacombs remain largely unclaimed and unexplored, and many small landholdings or even small kingdoms can be founded by those willing to risk it. New challenges, because strange beasts and stranger magic rule the darkest parts of the underislands, and those who can face them and return to the surface are held in particular esteem as men and women of valor and skill.