Dark Roads and Golden Hells: The Singing Throat
Out in the Great Beyond, we’re in the last few weeks of pulling Dark Roads and Golden Hells all together (for the Pathfinder side of the project anyway). We have eight new planes gazetteered, more flavorful mini-locations than an elf could spend his whole life adventuring through, at least half a dozen planar roads (both light and dark), and a smorgasbord of new spells, PC options, and hazards . . . not to mention a devilishly dangerous bestiary!
I think the general feel of the planes is going to be bang on target for what we were aiming at: a fresh take that melds the classic feel of past planar settings with new ideas to take the Great Beyond (be it Midgard’s or your own) in different but equally exciting philosophical directions.
In the meantime, here’s the first of a few early Christmas presents from the outer planes: a nice mix of the stylish, the exotic, and the downright weird . . .
Welcome to the Throat—a cylindrical planar geode that consists of a pink-hued gullet of crystallized muscle and tissue. The shaft pierces a maze of resonant caverns connected to conceptual planes of sound, song-craft, and musical arcana.
All the great music of the planes can be heard here: the echoes of Creation Songs, the Voice of Sedara whose lieder terrified all fiends for reasons unrevealed, screams arranged and amplified in the hyper-mazes of insane tesseract realms, the womb songs of the Anatan that lead souls to prophesied stillborns—all these and more reverberate in ever-varying volumes through darkness and mist-moistened rock.
- Light Gravity
- Self-Contained Shape: The Throat is finite, but if you travel outward through its caverns, and you’ll end up back at the central shaft.
- Coterminous Plane: Several caves have coterminous connections with different conceptual planes: Sound, Music, Fugue, Inspiration, and so on.
- Positive-Dominant: There might not be much native plant and animal life, but creative energies thrum in the crystalline Throat.
- Mildly Neutral Aligned: The fractal dance of Order and Chaos is courtly and cooperative here. Chaos provides the inspiration, Order arranges the symphonies.
- Enhanced Magic: Magic that primarily creates sound is enhanced. Unique acoustics also ensure that all such spells are Extended and Widened (as per the metamagic feats but without increasing spell level).
- Impeded Magic: Silence and similar magic is impeded here.
Many agents of Order and Chaos identify closely with music, and both sides consider this a sacred place. In the Throat’s reverberating chambers, you can hear echoes of the Multiverse’s greatest songs mingling and breeding, reproducing new sounds and harmonies. Celestials and fiends seeking dominance over the ideals of Song or Music gather here, as do planars trading in intricate music boxes, sheet music, concerts, and instruments. Their settlement (they hate to call it a mere town—it’s always city or conclave or commune) is also filled with musically inclined Fey and Outsiders, from muses and lhiannan sidhe to lyrieen and lillends, trumpet archons, and hundun. Most of the time, these varied factions cooperate for the greater good. Most of the time.
THE CITY OF SINGING THROAT
CG large town
Corruption –2; Crime +0; Economy +1; Law +; Lore +3; Society –2
Qualities Academic, Syzyrgical, Tourist Attraction.
Government Magical (The Shrivelled Instruments)
Population 3,000 (2,000 mortals of various races, 850 Outsiders, 100 Fey, 50 Undead)
- Ambriel the Clarion, Champion of Singing Throat (LG Trumpet Archon)
- ‘Freeman Drumming’, wandering agent of Chaos (CG Hundun)
- Ouna the Aetherine, diminutive operatic prima donna (CG Lyrieen Bard 10)
- Simon the Cowled, judge and arch-critic (NE Lich Wizard 18)
Double the base value and purchase limit for items relating to sound and music.
Base Value 2,400 gp; Purchase Limit 10,000 gp; Spellcasting 7th
Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 2d4; Major Items 1d4
Built on the Throat’s vertical shaft of lustrous rose- and fuchsia-hued crystal, the City of Singing Throat has many levels. Edifices such as the Woodwind Tree, the Echo Distilleries, and the Onyx Tower of Silence rise through multiple ledges and resonant caverns. The Throat’s light gravity permits the use of extravagantly delicate and outstandingly beautiful filigreed architecture that is impossible on the mortal plane. With flight heavily regulated, even winged races normally use balloons or magical transport to traverse the levels. For the wealthy, the current fashion (and Singing Throat is always a fashionable town) is for undead spiders with hollowed out abdomens to serve as transport. Their luminous silver webbing thrums with the echoes in the air, adding to the city’s melodious cacophony.
Singing Throat was built to cater to the needs of musicians and songsmiths of a hundred different races, which gives the city an eclectic and bohemian style. Beauty is everywhere, designed by creative geniuses and enforced by vicious artistic coteries and judgmental critics. With so many talented performers, standards are high, but the truly great need never fear destitution. Here rewards from a simple drink to a sparkling diamond, or even a soul or a second chance at destiny, can be garnered as payment for a song.
The Throat grants all vocal and musical performance checks a +2 circumstance bonus, but the DC of any Perform check to earn money from the populace is raised by 5 points. Locals respect only the very best talent.
In charge of the city are The Shriveled Instruments, undead aboriginal bards, whose music long ago replaced the blood in their veins. They are the authority behind the limited government that handles day to day management of the Throat. This skeletal bureaucracy does little to curb the clash of rival music schools, cabals of sonancers (the city’s specialist sound mages), and Singing Throat’s notorious song thieves, who can snatch music from a breath, a reed, or the strings of a harp.
To learn more about this project, please head on over to the Dark Roads and Golden Hells page.