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!
After the events of the last few months, many GMs and players are looking for different adventure settings to play the world’s first roleplaying game. You might already be familiar with setting-agnostic products offered by Kobold, such as Campaign Builder: Cities & Towns, Tome of Heroes, or the three Tomes of Beasts.
But did you know that Kobold Press has a vibrant, diverse campaign setting of its own, ready to fill with your heroic—dare I say valiant—tales and adventures?
This series focuses on the adventure locales in the Midgard Worldbook and how you can use the overlap with campaign settings you might already be playing in. Let’s start with a little town called Zobeck.
The Lure of Zobeck
The Free City of Zobeck is a metropolis at the crossroads of Midgard. Much trade goes through its ports and her roads, and the city is home to humans, dwarves, elfmarked (known as half-elves in other games), and kobolds. Within its walls are towering temples, bustling marketplaces and schools of arcane learning. If you’re looking for something in Midgard, you’re most likely to find it in Zobeck.
- If you’re running a campaign in Sharn or Waterdeep, Midgard is the perfect place to move your campaign . . . or just to steal ideas from!
Zobeck is known as the Clockwork City because of the geargrinders and steamworkers who create the clockwork automatons that populate much of the city. Most impressive of all are the gearforged—metallic creatures of brass, gears, and springs who house a soul gem that contains the memory and desires of a creature before their passing.
- The warforged from Eberron appear analogous to the gearforged. However, while warforged were manufactured to fight a war, the gearforged allow for a greater diversity of storytelling because anyone with sufficient coin or influence can commission a gearforged chassis and soul gem.
The guilds in Zobeck wield power and influence. Many seats on the Free City Council are filled by guildmasters, including the guildmasters of the Arcane Collegium and the Weaver’s Guild. One need not be a consul to exert influence, as the guilds control all mercantile activity for their trained profession—often through dues and apprenticeships, but occasionally through violence and threats.
- Zobeck’s guilds are different from those in Ravnica. While both groups of guilds are power players, Zobeck’s guilds exert influence over a large city in a larger world instead of a single, planet-spanning city (which may stretch one’s suspension of disbelief).
- Zobeck’s guilds are far more akin to the guilds of Waterdeep, which are explored in the peculiarly heistless Waterdeep: Dragon Heist adventure.
There is no shortage of gangs and con men in the city, exerting undue influence over the less fortunate. Black market activities occur below Zobeck in an unmapped region known as the Cartways, which are paths dug out of old silver mines where the upper class used to carouse. Nowadays, you’ll find thieves, smugglers, and even ghouls operating in the Cartways.
- If you’re playing in Waterdeep, themes and adventures in the Undercity can easily be moved to the Cartways.
A century ago, Zobeck was ruled by the (ig)noble Stross family, who made deals with the fey lords and ladies who made claim to the patch of dirt at the intersection of the Rivers Argent and Derry. The family ruled with an iron fist, crushing any resistance—at least until they went too far.
Ninety years ago, the good folk of Zobeck stood up and deposed the Stross, establishing the Free City of Zobeck, ruled not by a despot but a council of citizens.
- If you play in the City of Greyhawk, you may recognize similarities between House Stross and the abdication of Zagyg Yragerne.
Adventure waits beyond the walls of Zobeck too. You can find danger and treasure in every cardinal direction.
To the east lies the Margreve Forest, an impossibly ancient and deadly forest that seems to have a life of its own. To the west, you find the Ironcrags, home to cantonal dwarves who take others as thralls for a decade. To the north are the twin vampiric nations of Morgau and Doresh, which live and die on the blood they can harvest. To the south lies the Scarlet Citadel, a dangerous dungeon at the crossroads of several ley lines.
- Many setting centerpieces like Waterdeep and Sharn serve as a jumping off point for further adventuring. Zobeck offers an abundance of threats, above, below, or around the city.
Like many centerpieces of campaign settings, Zobeck has its own dedicated sourcebook, Zobeck: Clockwork City Collector’s Edition. This expands on the description of Zobeck found in the Midgard Worldbook, and offers a dozen short adventures to run in the Clockwork City.
Best of all, Zobeck: Clockwork City paints the metropolis with a broad enough brush for the GM to devise their own adventures—just check out Street Eats of Zobeck for one example!
Get into Midgard with the Midgard Worldbook! This acclaimed campaign setting is rich and deep, with a decade of support from Kobold Press. Want a more focused start? Try the Zobeck Clockwork City Collector’s Edition! This detailed sourcebook gives players plenty of room to run, and includes adventures within the Clockwork City itself!