Evermist Summit - Chris Harrell

The Evermist Summit is the convergence of two realms. Here, twin cities form the trade center between the peoples of the land and the sky.

        The city of Hraungard sprawls across the lower reaches of the Mountain, spilling out into the surrounding valley. Hraungard’s entire livelihood is based upon trade with its heavenward partner. Walatha-Ven is a city among the clouds, one of the only moored settlements of the Skyborne races, and by far the largest. The hard-cloud composition of Walatha-Ven allows for no more than a trickle of daylight to the surface below, while the city lights of Hraungard reflect off the misty ceiling above, leaving the Earthbound in a state of eternal dusk, both day and night.

        The Mountain, while sharing in this twilit state, also bears the burden of constant mists dropping from the clouds above. While these mists condense to form the River Elfarnar, providing Hraungard with water and access to the sea, they are often cursed as they create a dangerous barrier to the otherwise thriving trade. The mountain, an already deadly place with its abandoned mineshafts and terraced and labyrinthine cliff sides, cannot be tamed in the shadow of Walatha-Ven. The safest method of trade is by hippogriff-drawn wagons through the sky. For those with less coin, a magical lift was constructed that can transport enclosed carriages aerially by rope between a series of paired columns. For travelers too destitute to afford even this or merchants too

encumbered by their goods, the Gloomroad snakes up the mountain, although travelers upon this road must caravan together for even the faintest safety.

Notable NPC’s

Anaralante: An inquisitor in the House of the Sun, Anaralante has for decades fought the black heart of crime in Hraungard. Growing bitter at the ineffective force of the law, she turned away from her deity and sought out more aggressive forces in her crusade. But in here zeal, she caught the attention of a deity of the relentlessness of the sun. Now a tool for this god of warfare, she has turned her sights on the Cult of Twilight; and in this war, there are no innocent bystanders.

Vartijo: The Sky-Captain of the Blue Legion, in the wake of an uprising of predatory griffon behavior, has put out a call for the aid of courageous - and enterprising - adventurers to maintain the safety of the trade-ways


  • The writeup depicts the region very well, and I have no problem getting a feel for the region’s environment and potential conflicts. The hippogriff-drawn wagons are magnificent touch (though it does make me wonder how the wagons stay aloft, since it’s not clear the wagons are enchanted). The NPCs provide potential hooks for visiting characters. There are allusions to threats on the mountain, but nothing else to indicate what adventurers may face when they travel to the region. The description also doesn’t indicate the population’s composition. Are they all the same race? Or has a particular race moved to the clouds while another race lives in the earth-side gloom?

    The map is reasonably clear, and I realize hand-drawing it leads to decisions about whether to start over again or scratch out a mistake (believe me, I’ve been there!), so I can understand the marked-out word in the legend. You’ll want to avoid that if possible in a turnover for a publisher. This should be clear enough for a cartographer to work from, helped by including every possible icon in your legend. I like the riddle you included to open the doors to the cathedral. What’s not clear to me, though, as I read through this and study the map, is whether this is a portion of the Evermist Summit or its entirety. The underlined “Conclave of the Dusk Altar” leads me to believe this is the location you are depicting, but there’s no description of it in the accompanying text.

    Your text is clean, with only a couple of hiccups (For example, “But in here zeal…”). There were a few places where your description was unclear, such as the bit about the mists being cursed (how, and to what effect?). “Mountain” is capitalized in most places, but not all. If the mountain is not significant as part of the region, you shouldn’t capitalize it. However, if it is significant, you should always capitalize it, but naming the mountain would have been a better way to go.

    Overall, the region seems like a nifty place to adventure with plenty of potential in two distinct locations and the neutral hub of Evermist Summit. I’m left with several questions about how everything pieces together, so I ultimately cannot recommend this for advancement.

    I’m only one voice among many, though, and the voters may see something different, or have different criteria they use to make their determinations. Good luck in the voting!

  • I think Evermist Summit gets off to a great start, describing a pair of cities that feel like they could be the setting for an entire campaign, with a full sourcebook written about them. I think the creativity here is really top-notch, and just these 250+ words have me thinking about what kind of adventure I want to run here. There's inherent conflict in this location, and that makes for good adventures and locations that players want their characters to explore. I think there are some good names in here, which is an area I always spend a lot of time on; they're evocative and memorable, but not something that I think GMs will struggle to say. I do think introducing a couple NPCs wasn't the best use of the allowed words. There are going to be more than two NPCs of note in this dual-city location, and the 130 words devoted to two of them would have been better used to introduce the map location.

    Speaking of which, the Conclave of the Dusk Altar is obviously a location somewhere in the setting. I'm assuming it's related to the Cult of Twilight mentioned in the first NPC's writeup, but I would have loved to know a little bit more about it. For the map itself, first of all I would note you need to be careful with the contrast. I can see the underlying grid, but only barely, which could be a problem for the illustrator who ultimately has to turn this map into the final version. I also do hand-drawn maps like this, and I really play with the contrast and brightness when I scan them in. For the content, I like that it has some different shapes and options for players, but a couple concerns: First is make sure it allows enough room for combat to potentially take place and don't make the rooms so hard that a GM can't put them on a battlemap (the room to the north of the library, for instance, feels like it would be hard to reproduce). Secondly, I'm a little concerned that all the rooms on the outer rim are separate. That means players will enter each one individually, instead of having to make some choices about which way they want to explore this area. There are three potential entrances/exits to this entire complex, so there are choices for how it could be approached, but it needs to allows those same choices on its internal structure too.

    Overall, I think this entry shows a ton of creativity. For me, that exceeds the areas of the map itself that concern me, so I do recommend this for advancement.

  • Congratulations, Chris. Putting yourself out there to compete in anything is hard, and designing RPGs is hard. Particularly designing adventure settings or locations. You have to be able to suggest some ideas about personalities, plots, terrain, and more, and have GMs chomping at the bit to add your location to their regular game. Let's see how you did!

    I believe in positive feedback and honest criticism that should make you better at every part of this gig. So to start positively, I want to say that there's a lot of potential in this twilight city of mountain and sky. You describe it as descending all the way down a mountain and onto the valley below, so it could be an entire setting in itself.

    Having two very different locations bound together makes for high adventure and intrigue. Do the governments get along? Are there separatists? How were the two bound and is something coming to unbind it?

    It's actually these questions that cause your entry to lose steam in my opinion. I don't see much adventure or very high stakes. You could trim your description of the cities a little and highlight something important about Evermist's place in the world, or offer adventure that isn't just a zealot going to war with crime guilds or griffons eating the local working hippogriffs. It would take little effort to turn this city into a powder keg, providing political turmoil and urgency. Or maybe a cloud giant sorcerer returns from a thousand year slumber and wants to re-establish the slave trade that brought the first humans to the mountain? Near as I can tell, you have exchanged all that excitement for a fantasy version of Batman and some Hungry Neutral CR 4 monsters.

    I think the map is cluttered. I do like the verse you placed on it, which I think could be applied as art and doesn't cheat the contest spirit. But the map is a location not mentioned in the prose, and I dunno what's going on there.

    Your writing is mostly okay, but gets a little clunky and you sometimes make odd choices for phrases. "...the faintest safety" and "a deity of the relentlessness of the sun" are examples. The deity and inquisitor are a missed opportunity.Why fall from the first faith? And why not spend a sentence describing the sun god's belief that sin hides in the shadows? Now our antihero is trying to get the sun shining again. Maybe blowing up buildings or evaporating solid cloud space. But again, I am the one raising the stakes here and that's your job.

    The high potential of your city might carry you through to the next round. If it does, remember to raise the stakes and get your NPCs' motivations outside your head and onto the page. I wish you luck.

  • I wanted to read and comment every entry before I gave a thumb' up or down recommendation. I am supporting FOUR entries to advance from this round based on map, adventure potential, and quality prose. And I can't recommend this one to advance based on my comments above.
  • Thank you all for the feedback!
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