The exit here is into a burned out shell of a greenhouse type building. Not much is left but a steel frame (again, unknown technology). It is on the edge of a large square surrounded by ruined temples. Small lanes run off at the corners. In the center is a large, ruined well. There are the remains of a roof and winch. Somebody has recently repaired the winch and added a new bucket. The area has been staked off and low ropes run along making squares on the ground. Several of these have been disturbed and their are signs of a recent battle. There are six dead fiendish ghouls, along with the bodies of a dead human fighter and dwarven cleric of Moradin. The fighter has a stylized symbol of Oghma on his chest. It appears that the battle was within the past day. There are also spades, small brushes, sieves and other items related to archeological digs scattered about the square. Shortly after the party starts looking around, both bodies will rise as ghasts unless they are beheaded. Once they ghasts are dispatched, the party can search their bodies. The fighter has a map showing a route to an outpost on the western edge of the city. Before the party can wander off, a scholar and four guards will come into the square from the western opening. They will identify themselves as researchers who were driven off by an undead attack. They came to see what happened to their two missing comrades. If the party hasn’t removed their heads, the guards will do so.
The scholar will identify himself as Loreseeker Lafferty of the University Unversalis. (A knowledge check DC 15 in most subjects will identify this as an extremely elite institute of knowledge located somewhere along the Weathered Wall.) He will invite the party back to the outpost. The guards bundle the bodies and drag them on travois back to the outpost, for transport back to the university for burial.
The outpost is built on the site of the old elven village Arthdor’s grandmother told him about. It has been fortified with platforms inside allowing guards to watch the gate. There are gates on either side of the village, as it spans the road out of the city.
Inside there are six large buildings.
The troop barracks is a three story structure. The top two levels consist of open barracks with bunks for the troops. The bottom level has a central hall with three rooms opening off of each side. Two of these are single occupant rooms for the commander and his assistant. The remaining four are double occupancy for the squad leaders. The longhouse is a two story building with a large basement, which is used for storing foods and other daily needed items. The quartermaster has an office here, as well as a room on the second floor. on the main level there is a kitchen and great room. This is where meals are served, general meetings are held and daily life happens. Staff has room on the second level. There are also two rooms suitable for guests to the outpost. These will be given to the party. Forge. This large one story building houses a blacksmith shop, complete with forge. The blacksmith lives here along with his wife and three children. His sons assist in the smithy, while his wife and daughter tend the community gardens. Dormitory. The research personnel live in this three story building. There is currently a 6th level priest of Oghma, a 3rd level priest, and 8 accolytes who act as assistants. There are also four other students from the university here who are assisting with the work in the city. The first level is a chapel to Oghma and a research library. The second level has four large bedrooms, while the top level is divided into a men’s and women’s dormitory. Offices. This is a two story building with four doors on the front. There are four offices on each level, though only four are currently in use. One is the guard commander’s office, one is the head researcher’s office, one is for his assistant and the fourth is the outpost commander. His family has taken over the upper level of this building. Warehouse. This large structure houses artifacts from the dig exclusively. Artie, the keeper, has an encylopedic knowledge of the contents of this building and can locate anything in 2d10 minutes. Him and his wife have quarters in the building. Gardens. These are mainly tended by the blacksmith’s wife and daughter, though the cook and his assistant lend a hand with this. They grow a variety of fruits and vegetables here, depending on the season and the wants of those assigned to the outpost at any given time. Open area. This is used for drill by the guard, children play here, and other activities occur here. There are privies located between the longhouse and barracks as well as between the offices and dormitory. These buildings also have privies in their basements.
Loreseeker Lafferty is a 3rd level cleric to Oghma and assistant to Prime Learner McDuff. He refuses to answer questions until the party arrives at the outpost, at which time he takes them to McDuff’s office. He does, however, ask a million questions about the party and the goings on in their worlds.
McDuff and Lafferty are both open, affable men with a great curiosity about the world at large. They understand that they cannot discuss the university, but they are willing to share what they can about the city and their mission. The study of the ruins has only been going on for about three years. They originally had a lot of trouble with undead, but got rid of much of them. They still, obviously, have troubles with them. Lately they have been having troubles with portals and extra-planar entities. Several of the researchers have returned to the university to see if they can get an answer as to why this is happening. Recently, they discovered the tunnels under the city. The drow have allowed them access to much of these, but will not allow them to travel to the temple island or the docks tunnels. As they have plenty to study at this time, they have not found this restrictive and have been willing to share research notes with the few drow researchers who are studying the underground portions of the city.
The researchers know about the keys. However, they are vague about them, stating that they have found a great many keys in the ruins. If the party wishes to try them, they are welcome to do so. McDuff has sent several extremely magical keys to the university for study, and is unlikely to tell the party about them unless they give him good reason to do so. When they don’t find the key, he will tell them that some artifacts have been sent to the university, though he won’t mention that he is sure the one they want has been sent on. If they try the keys in the warehouse, Artie will mention that the Prime Learner sent about a dozen enchanted keys to the university about a week ago.
Artie is extremely knowledgeable about artifacts, especially those in his warehouse. He also has a good knowledge of the university archives and their contents. His father is in charge of these, along with his older brother. Artie and his wife welcomed the chance for this posting, as they felt it would give them time away to start a family. He is as knowledgeable about people, the ruins, or the university past the archives. He does believe that the scrolls Arthdor is looking for are there.
Most of the researchers know that the university used to be an elven village named Feralin. When the other elves started to shun the residents, they became more accepting of other races. When the Great Ending occurred, they took in refugees fleeing destruction. At first the town was just a hodge podge of races trying to get by. However, several of the refugees were from the university in the fallen city, and they decided to start up a great institute of learning. They worked with the K’sharis Protectors who remained here to open portals to several cities, where they started recruiting teachers, builders and others that could help in creating a great center of knowledge. Given the isolated location and uneasy about the destruction that had overtaken the valley, it was decided to keep the location of the university secret, only allowing in those who were specifically invited.
There is a portal to the university from the basement of the warehouse. However, the party will not be given access to this unless the Prime Learner feels their mission is extremely important. He will, however, give them a letter of introduction to the Great Patriarch, gaining them entrance to the city and access to the information deemed appropriate for their task. They may, however, be tasked with a quest at a later to date to assist the university. They can also be sent back to Bammock from the city, shortening their trip by several days and allowing them to bypass the city, temple complex and spire for the time being.
Artie will not give them access to any of the artifacts in the warehouse at this time. He does hint that there are some extremely powerful objects here that may be available to them at a future date, should the university powers decide that they are worthy.
The party can restock any non-magical supplies here, such as arrows, get new mundane weapons, repairs, etc. Lafferty or McDuff would be willing to take any magical items off the party’s hands, though it would be for favor with the university and Oghma. Commander Olafson will buy what weapons and armor the party may wish to part with, including magical ones, within his limited budget. However, he only has 200 GP at the moment and therefore cannot buy much.
If the party goes overland to the university, they will head west for about a day. There are several farms right outside the palisades, and then the land turns rapidly to overgrown woods. Large animals roam this area, but are unlikely to attack. The party should come to the elven tree village late in the day. It has been reoccupied by the elves who formerly lived in the village they just left. Undead attacks drove them out, and this tree was newly inhabited by a dryad who was happy to share it with the elves. This village has expanded to several other trees in the area. This elven tribe has become comfortable with the university to the south and the outpost to the west. They offer a tavern and inn to those travelling between the two and even act to discourage the few travelers they have had who were not members of the university. They can tell the party that they have become aware of bands of gnolls and goblins coming further into the forests of this area, though for the most part they have been going east at this time. They have been having discussions on this matter with the militia at the university, should they need protection in the future. They do not have a portal to the city, but they do have actively communicate through emissaries and the use of carrier pigeon. These are primarily wood elves and do not tend to worship non-nature gods. They will replenish the party’s stock of healing berries. If it is revealed that Arthdor is one of the Ksharis Asaalis, they will be very deferential and offer extra assistance.