Mount Xoa
“The Road is…about the Road, you know. You know, The Road!” - Mykas Tarth, sub-priest of Vortain

Capital: Sojourn
Settlements: Sojourn (5,000), Waytown (1,000), Zenith (rumored)
Ruler: Finegar Dustyfoot, Lord Mayor of Sojourn
Government: local only
Races: Dwarf, Gnome, Human
Faiths: Kamus, Linium, Rolterra, Veiloaria, Vortain
Resources: Extradimensional trade, godmetals (adamantine, geranite, hellstone, mawine, uliun), metals (gold, silver)
Languages: Common, Dwarf, Gnome
Border Conditions: Restricted (a porphyrite border, surrounding the mountain proper and a 1 mile corridor to a wharf on the Arm of Parl)

History
When Veiloaria entered Porphyra after the Calling, she merely walked down from the heights of Mount Xoa, which she brought (or some say, created spontaneously) with her from her previous travels. The crossroads spoken of in legend, where the Eternal Traveler calmly rebuffed two aggressive gods, was probably one of the many descending from The Great Road of Mount Xoa. Indeed, this gently sloped, but titanic mountain, the most massive on Porphyra, is encircled by a wide, wellkept road from top to bottom. No sentient beings came with Mount Xoa, but in the millennia since its arrival, many have taken up the challenge of the Road, and some have stayed and settled in its environs. Their reason for coming: the Road is not ordinary road, and Mount Xoa is no ordinary mountain.

The length of the Road seems far out of proportion with its appearance, and the frequent caves and entrances into the Mount itself seem too often lead to places that are not exactly on Porphyra…

To travel The Great Road is to adventure, encountering people and things of astonishing variety, overcoming peril and conflict between those who would profit from the mountain’s uniqueness. Though humans bear the most fascination with Mount Xoa, dwarves have sought to plunder the minerals within the mountain, and Veiloaria seems to tolerate their diggings. Gnomes love the endless variety on the mountain as well, and have taken on the role of chroniclers and mappers of Mount Xoa, regardless of the persistent impression that the mountain slowly changes its appearance, nature, and direction over time. The most basic quest on Mount Xoa is the reaching of Zenith, the fabled City of Gems said to exist on the mountain’s mist-shrouded top, but accessing the myriad cave/portals on the upper reaches is also a common goal of adventurers. Though the weather on Mount Xoa is commonly mild for such a tall peak, flight is notoriously difficult, a phenomenon called “Veil’s Wind” and accepted with the characteristic shrug and smile of Roadians, the self-given ‘national’ name of those who live and walk on the The Great Road of Mount Xoa.

Current Events
Behavior on The Great Road is governed loosely by the Rules of the Road, a code of conduct meant to keep some degree of peace and comportment on the mountain.

The Rules basically state:

1. Up-mountain has right-of-way over downmountain, in all affairs.
2. Blocking the road is forbidden.
3. Speak Common or keep your mouth shut.
4. Truth is the honorable way; if you can’t be trusted, get off the road.
5. Robbing is for the weak, make your own find.

There are more, less official Rules, but these define behavior on The Road.

The Mayoralty of Sojourn (see below) is coming to term, and Finegar Dustyfoot is actually going up for re-election, astounding most residents of that roughand- tumble town. Mutterings are afoot that he is too ‘flatbound’ to run the show, but no one can argue with his policies for improving the food supply of Sojourn. There are several contenders, and things are likely to get ugly.

Up-Waytown dwarves, known for their zealous obeisance of Linium, are becoming more and more reluctant to trade in Waytown, and thus more isolated. Racial tensions are rising, much to the delight of the clerics and adherents of Kamus, who seem to be on Mount Xoa is ever-increasing numbers.

Another spate of ‘Zenners’, those who claim to have made it to Zenith, are being seen on Th e Road these days; the current bunch refuse to enter Waytown or Sojourn, and all seem to be universally mad. Experienced Roadians shrug and smile and say, “That’s what you get on The Road,” but some are worried that it is bad for business - especially with down Waytown mines increasing production.

Settlements
The major settlements of Mount Xoa are:

  • Sojourn is a town trying to be many things; international face of Mount Xoa, (the border a mere score of miles away) food provider for up-mountain, (difficult on the dusty foothills) and fence and broker both for wonders found on The Great Road. Very much a frontier town, the successive mayors of Sojourn have tried to focus the populace on being like any other good-sized community, but have always failed to eclipse the allure of The Great Road. The current, and possibly recurrent mayor, Finergan Dustyfoot, has been a breath of fresh air, probably because of his halfl ing sensibilities. Knives have used as voting tools in Sojourn before, though. The largest Flower and Compass hostel on Porphyra is in Sojourn, and is the only one to use the title, ‘Veiloaria’s Favorite’; if the rumor exists that hasn’t been heard in Veiloaria’s Favorite, it hasn’t been though of yet.
  • Waytown is as far from Sojourn as “Until you get there,” a rather variable distance. Th is variability has been the downfall of some travelers on The Road, as charity is not always forthcoming for the shortsighted, unless you wish the charity of Kamusian slavers, Vortainian dealers, or Rolterran press-gangs. The population of Waytown is also fluid, and the shops along Way Street, which does not block Th e Road, change owners frequently. Th ere are no illusions of Waytown’s status as a frontier town, and the minimal peace and order there is maintained by long-suff ering Xia clerics, who come as hardship duty from lighter work on the Upper Road.
  • Zenith is a rumor that has persisted since the NewGod wars, when the First Sword of the Keshite Steelidun led a group of his fi nest warriors and their concubines on a mission to the top, and, a few months later, a small team came down with fi st-sized gems, shards of a strange egg (still on display in Sojourn) and tales of a town that could, on a rare, clear day, see a large part of the entire planet. Less than two-hands worth of further trips to and from Zenith followed, and those that came from there grew more secretive and ‘different’. No one in living memory has seen Zenith, and those who speak (or, rather, rant) about seeing this mystery are derisively known as ‘Zenners’

Intrigues

  • Gold Rush at Waytown! Th e Methysti border-priests have lifted their heavy tariff of Mount Xoa, and the prospectors are flooding in. An inherited stake in the down-Waytown mines is just the thing to get an adventuring career started.
  • Your pursuit of Vortainian zerk-smugglers has led you to the road-camps of Mount Xoa, whose miners will be top dollar for strength-enhancing poisons. You intend to shut them down.
  • The upcoming elections in Sojourn should be rife with opportunity for talented bodyguards, promoters, and missionaries, especially of faiths uncommon to Th e Road.
  • No one has seen Zenith in living memory? A stout adventuring party can change that!

See Also