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Places to Go, People to See: The City of Floating Whispers

Places to Go, People to See: The City of Floating Whispers

Whitby Harbor by Moonlight - John Atkinson GrimshawIt floated across his face—tendrils of mist against his unshaven cheek. Then he heard the voice, tender and kindly, say, “I will make you lord of this place if you just let me into your mind…”

Imagine a city where the dead linger—they might not clamber up out of graves but some say it’s much worse—the dead in this city whisper to you, offering you anything if you grant them renewed life. Welcome, my friends, to the City of Floating Whispers.

There are too many stories about the city’s origins to trust any of them—one story tells you that an epochal war ripped the city apart and the virulent magic used by wizards on both sides led to thousands of men and women being ripped from their bodies, floating and free. Others speak of a demonic stranger, who offered eternal life to those who could beat him in a game of dice. Those thousands who queued to test their skill and luck against the stranger and lost also achieved immortality—just not in the way they hoped.

Most people who enter the City of Floating Whispers are left frightened and unsettled by the haunting voices, slipping past them as they walk along wide, statue-filled streets. They are bemused by the lack of concern shown by long-term inhabitants of the city as offers are muttered by ethereal presences in every marketplace, brothel, and palace chamber.

Things are different, of course, where your heroes are concerned. Should anyone of real power ever enter the city, the whispers swarm, desperate to attach themselves to a man or woman of destiny. Heroes are besieged by thousands of invisible supplicants—all of them making extraordinary offers in exchange for whatever they want. If the heroes refuse these importunities, the swarm gradually dissipates—but they will never entirely leave the adventurers alone while they are within the city. Expect whispered promises of power, gold, and experience to emerge from the oddest of places, such as from the bottom of a tankard, as a hero drains down the beer; perhaps from the tip of an own arrow as an adventurer draws a bead on a local thug…

Adventure Fragments

  • A friend, relation, or beloved mentor of the heroes has recently assumed a position of authority in the city; is he in the thrall of one of the Whispers? What does the Whisper plan to do now that it is a member of the City Guild? And just how many people in this place might be possessed by Whispers, working for some sinister agendas?
  • Children are disappearing all over the city. Have the Whispers found a means of consuming the minds of those unable to protect themselves? And what kind of army are they building with their small, brain-washed soldiers?
  • One of the heroes, either through choice or trickery, becomes bound to one of the Whispers. He or she loses control of a hand but becomes more proficient with a weapon as a result. Will the party try and drive the Whisper out? Or will it take advantage of this boost to its companion’s skills? If the adventurers do take advantage, what is going to happen to their friend and fellow hero with a new voice directing thoughts and more?
  • The city folk have had enough of the Whispers, scaring off trade and isolating them from the rest of the world—they want the heroes to get rid of them. But how? And what necromantic power could bind so many spirits to one place for so long?

 

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