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Midgard Monday: Gearhouses, Grinders and Gem Merchants of Zobeck

Midgard Monday: Gearhouses, Grinders and Gem Merchants of Zobeck

It’s Midgard Monday! Each week, we visit a corner of the wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content you can drop into your campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration each Midgard Monday!

The arcane merchants in Zobeck’s Gear District are famous for the clockwork magic they sell and trade—and for the dangerous secrets they conceal. A few of the more infamous personages and locations in the Gear District are described below:

Joffee’s Geargrinders

This huge, factory-sized workshop contains gigantic grinders and water-knife cutters for shaping and cutting large pieces of iron and brass, such as rebar and the massive giant iron bands used to create the ribs of the local temples of Volund and Rava.

GM Note. It is rumored that you can pay a pretty price and have bodies, witnesses, and evidence disappear into the grinders, never to be seen or resurrected again. (With its massive conveyor belts, scalding steam vents, gigantic grinders, hanging chains and hooks, dumbwaiters, and piles of iron ingots and plates, Joffee’s makes for a dangerous, dynamic location for a combat or chase encounter.

Grymbal’s Gearworks

Grymbal, a dwarven mechanist, has discovered how to make gearforged animals and link them to a humanoid owner. Thus anyone with enough money can have a familiar that does not need to eat, drink, breathe or sleep. These gearforged creatures have the same stat blocks and abilities of a normal familiar, but with the resistances and immunities of gearforged.

Initially, these creatures can’t speak and only communicate telepathically with their bonded owners. Over time, they become “socialized,” learning to speak and developing quirks and personalities.

Clockwork familiars do not come cheap or quickly. A clockwork hawk, dog, or rabbit costs over 5,000 gp and take up to three months to forge. A gearforged bear can cost over 35,000 gp and take over a year to construct.

It is rumored that Grymbal also makes smaller, simpler clockwork birds and insects that can be “remote controlled” by an attuned user, who can also see and hear through them, at a range of 1,000 feet for up to 1 hour out of every 24 hours. These spy clockworks cost from 1,500 to 3,500 gp each, and can take up to a month to create.

GM Note. For customers with insufficient cash, or those with very specific requirements, Grymbal may require them to undertake a dangerous quest to earn their clockwork creature, such a retrieving a specific soul gem from a treasure vault in the Ruby Despotate, or acquiring a rare artificer’s tome buried in a Mharoti dragon hoard.

Thrundvil’s Gems

This dwarvish jeweler is famous for dealing only in large, rare, and exotic gemstones, such as those used in soul gems or for high level spells. If you seek an expensive or unique gem, Thrundvil is the one to ask. If she does not have it in stock, she probably knows where to find it.

Thrundvil has been known to hire adventurers to find and “acquire” unique and magical gemstones for well-heeled clients. She claims to purchase most of her matchless inventory from the Silent Masters of the Ironcrags. Gossips and competitors claim that Mharoti machinations have cut her off supply lines, so she is now smuggling gems from the Ruby Despotate and even Demon Mountain. Some of rumors also say these gems are tainted with infernal energies.

Sindabar’s Brass Lamps

This storefront is run by a bald and tattooed dwarf, Sindabar. He exclusively sells arcane clockwork lamps. Sindabar claims that the lamps can be used to capture elementals and other spirits of the elemental planes, such as djinni and ifrit. If they work as promised, they are rare wonderous items that require attunement.


Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)

This metal oil lamp has intricate gearwork among its ornate carvings. Once attuned, the owner activates it by placing it on a flat, level surface, and clicking a hidden switch. The lamp then forces any Elemental of 10 HD or less within 30 feet to make a DC 18 CHA save. On a failure, the Elemental is instantly confined in the lamp, a tiny demiplane that is impervious to teleportation and dimensional travel magic. On a success, the creature is not trapped and knows that the character has attempted to capture it. An Elemental with more than 10 HD automatically saves, instantly knows the location of the lamp, and is suitably displeased by the attempt. After a creature makes its save against the lamp’s effect, it can’t be trapped again until the next dawn.

A lamp can hold a total 30 HD of creatures at one time. If the owner attempts to exceed that amount, the lamp explodes, releasing all creatures within. The explosion deals 3d6 piercing damage and 3d8 fire damage from the explosion in a 20-foot radius. Anyone caught in the blast may attempt a DC 13 DEX save, taking half damage on a success. The explosion has no effect on trapped elementals.

Imprisoned elementals freed by the explosion attack the lamp’s owner immediately, in a furious rage.

Titrilmak’s Timepieces

Titrilmak is an aged, but still spry, kobold sorcerer and artificer. He makes elaborate, magical timepieces and clocks that use illusion to create ringing tones when they chime the hour. They can also display a small illusion to accompany the chimes, such as a cluster of illusory rabbits bursting forth from the clock face and ringing in the hour with little rabbit-eared mallets.

It is rumored that he has created an arcane pocket watch that can stop time for 1 minute.

GM Note. The pursuit and capture of this unique magical item could be the object of a mission or mini-campaign. The player characters could be hired by the Spyglass Guild or the Cloven Nine (or both) to obtain the timepiece, or they could be hired by Titrilmak or the Kobold King to protect it.

Zixxlevik’s Clockwork Toys

Zixxlevik is an obese, bearded kobold mechanist. He is a chatterbox, rarely stopping for breath. He loves showing off his minute clockwork playthings, and his handiwork is popular with the wealthier families of Zobeck, especially Consul Marack’s family.

He makes lengthy sales pitches for his wares unprompted, gesticulating wildly as he describes their features, their construction, and their materials. Zixxlevik has all manner of clockwork gadgets and creatures: tiny mechanical caravans with perpetual motion, clockwork dragonflies that fly around a room without bumping into anything, even a mechanical “flea circus” with tiny clockwork figures tightrope walking, performing acrobatics, and riding horses bareback – all on a dais that is 1 foot across.

GM Note. Unfortunately, Zixxlevik likes to gamble during his free hours, and is heavily in debt to the Cloven Nine Gang.

Get into Midgard with the Midgard Worldbook! This acclaimed campaign setting is rich and deep, with over a decade of support from Kobold Press.
Does a new setting feel like a big lift? Check out our intro article, Unpacking the Midgard Worldbook!

about Adam W. Roy

Adam has been playing TTRPGs for almost forty years, and has been a freelance game writer and editor for decades. He has written for Kobold Press, Paizo, White Wolf, and others. He is also a full-time father, husband, and e-commerce guru…. He manages all of this by avoiding sleep altogether.

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