Skyjacks and Sporekin

It’s a growing concern when I write about the world of Cobrin’Seil that I’m creating a vast and sprawling set of locational information that is not interesting for a player to engage with and not detailed enough for a world nerd to truly love. Part of it is really that I’m filling out a map, and each place I fill out, I want to be both a real enough place with an economy and a vision of everyday life, and yet I also want each country described to be its own place with a reason for it to be its own place. When there are multiple countries that are like one another in a reasonably close proximity, Europe style, I tend to think of them as ‘provinces’ of a larger body politic.

What’s more, I feel like I know what I like to see in a Nation writeup but I also know the things I need in a Nation writeup. A Nation writeup is a hook, a place to belong, and I want you to give me ideas like how my life as a person in that space might be a thing I can feel and inhabit. A Nation writeup is also a thing a DM needs to be able to check for useful data with signifiers quickly, because it’s a place to come from but also a place to go to. Basically, it is a dessert to consume but there are vegetables to have first.

Presented in a book, I know that I’d be presenting a big splash graphic, with sidebars, and mechanical references in nice formatted popouts. Not so here, where the only visual material I can generate is either icons, stock art, or morphed/warped pictures of similar locations from the inspirations. The rest, all I can do, is with words, words, words.

Come with me to learn of Motesso, the Skyjacks, the Sporekin, the Citadel Ironsky, and the River of Madness.

The Player’s Basics

Here’s your top level summary for players:

Mosetto is a small country with two major cities in it, and between them is an enormous canyon that takes about a month to circumnavigate. In that canyon, there’s a huge fungal forest, whose air is full of weirdo chemical drugs that are extremely hazardous to inhale and has a bunch of monsters in it that will definitely eat you. They call it the River of Madness because exposure to the drugs tends to permanently damage people’s minds, even if they survive the exposure.

To manage this canyon, which is a reasonably recent development the two cities have constructed Skyships, you know, zeppelins, to fly between the two cities regularly, delivering goods and services to keep their economies going. It takes a month to go around the forest, but the skyships move back and forth in about a day, and if they’re really booking it can do a round trip in one day. They have to be sealed when they go over the forest because spores can float, and they need to be cleaned thoroughly, creating opportunities for characters to inspect things for nasties that can be potentially harmful or profitable. You get your steampunk industrial centres here, with petticoats and fancy hats and a vision that with the right and sufficient technology in the hands of the deserving people, there’s no problem that can’t be fixed.

Since the forest occasionally produces, like, giant flapping dragons made of fungal spores and strange rhizomes, there’s a flying fortress nearby, on patrol protecting the sky, known as the Citadel Ironsky, and it’s a militarised city that’s equal parts prison and fortress complex. It’s a very large, visually important metaphor, which means that in any given game you can bet your DM is planning on crashing it into something as a good, bad, or amazing thing.

The remaining culture is composed of weirdoes who live in villages and towns in the space between the cities and the canyon who may have odd relationships to monsters based on folk remedies and spore tending, or defending themselves from regular attacks from big bugs or spore monsters. ‘Rural’ Mosetto is the kind of people who have peculiar ways of doing things but also have managed to live somewhere that’s pretty inhospitable for a long time, and the cities tend to gloss over how they live, assuming they’re pretty similar.

Some example characters that might come from Mosetto:

  • A Skyjack, a character used to flying high, using magical tattoos or chemical tanks to fly and maintain distance, probably trained on the Ironsky and with a history of monster-hunting.
  • A well-meaning citizen who has firm opinions on whether the River should be maintained or destroyed. Why, It might have amazing resources! Or it might be an existential threat! Or it might be worth preserving for its own sake!
  • A denizen of the communities between the River and the cities, someone who lives under siege or maybe considers their strange wildlife tolerable and tameable
  • down below, whose lived experience in the forest are at odds with the way they’re told the world is, host to a benevolent symbiote or colony of them exploring to learn about the world together.

Important inspirations for Mosetto are Nausicaa: The Valley of the Wind, The Children of Time, the Magic: The Gathering setting Ikoria, the World of Warcraft zone Zangarmarsh, Bioshock Infinite’s Columbia, and the planet Garuda from Robotech: The Sentinels. Skyjacks, with their aesthetic of leather straps and swords and gas tanks, are inspired by cosplayers of Attack on Titan, a show about which I know very little.


Land-locked Urbanised Independent Nation, The Kingdom of Clouds


The people of Mosetto are largely humans, in the cities, with populations of common urban populations that that implies, like Abilen, Goblins, Half-Elves and Half-Orcs, and Tieflings. The rural Mosetto population are a little more reclaimed, with Elvish population present in many rural communities, and a number of Orcish territories on both sides of the River of Madness. Kobolds have been seen trading, suggesting that they have reach into the country, too. The Eladrin have declared that there is a single Manse within the boundaries of Mosetto, mostly to affirm that the River is not their fault and to make it a punishable offence to transfer any of the River’s spores into their territory.

The typical image of a Mosetto person is definitely a city dweller, with industrially made clothes, either cheap or expensive, with a distinct aesthetic for the working class, the managerial class, and the professional or moneyed class. Outside the cities, there are the rural class and in the River, there’s a secret, extra class of the people who live in the forest, symbiotic with its dreadful spores.

Common: Abilen, Goblins, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, Halflings, Humans, Tieflings
Uncommon: Eladrin, Elves, Kobolds, Orcs
Rare: Dio Baragh, Drow, Shadar-Kai


Outside of Mosetto, people are likely to consider it a nation renowned for its Skyships. Some countries have their own Skyship towers, meant to be docked by the rare arrival of Mosetto Skyships, and that’s where a lot of people first understand anything about Mosetto. Mosetto is also known for its daring engineers-and-mercenaries known as Skyjacks, who often ply their trade outside of Mosetto after doing their time in the Ironsky.

The next thing people know about tends to be the River of Madness. It’s a topic that’s common for artists and heliographers to appreciate, since it interrupts a landscape of green forest, and brown and grey cities with a sprawl of bright neon colours of cyan and purple. Lots of people travel to Mosetto, and the Skyship rates are pretty reasonable to do so, like they want to make profit off them as a prestige point more than they do to sustain the system.

Largely, if you’re aware of Mosetto, you’ll know that there are two large cities: Zesiva and Gsetto (pronounced ‘Js-etto’). Zesiva is the capital, and rests mostly on the higher hill of the pair. Gsetto is connected to the Kings’ Highway, though neither are Eresh Protectorate cities. As a concession to the Highway, though, Gsetto does have a Eresh Knight Chapterhouse, even if it is a four-in-one affair, which is seen as a bit of a compromise.


If you live in Mosetto, your life is probably one with a lot of romantic presentation. The Skyjacks are spoken about as daring and reckless, the Ironsky’s defenders as bold and proud, the people who compose the songs are even writing about themselves, and in general, Mosetto is a culture that loves to talk about how great Mosetto is. It’s very common for Mosetto’s workers to have a very direct, tangible vision of what they’re doing and how they relates to society at large, though they’re also commonly used to the idea that what they do involves a level of specialisation that nobody around them appreciates.

Unless you’re rich, of course, in which case you have the immense burden of considering the way that nobody appreciates how hard you work moving money around and making trades and deals on the volatile and lucrative trade networks. Positioned where it is, Mosetto can do emergency shipments to the Abilen trade network and several Halfling tradeship companies, which means that constant flows of information and being prepared for just-in-time material deliveries can be incredibly lucrative for a country that, prior to the Skyships, was as useful to the trade boats as a cardboard hammer.


The cities of Mosetto are widely open to visitors, and they love to see you. They want to know what you know, what you’ve seen, and what you’ve dealt with through your travel to the city. Have you any news? Have you any news. Have you any news? The Mosetto industrial system has become bent around information brokering, both short term and long and it makes them extremely interested in keeping people flowing through, one way or another.

Travellers in Mosetto are sometimes surprised by what they need to pay for – it’s not uncommon for inns and restaurants to (for example) charge for access to facilities like toilets and showers. People spending time in the park are often moved along by the guards if they’re too present for too long. Mosetto wants you to be happy but also keep moving.


Mosetto does not consider itself a nation with rivals as much as it considers itself an innovator ahead of losers. Skyships are the future! Skyships are great! They cost a lot, but what are you going to do, load things onto a train? Run by kobolds? How ridiculous! Mosetto is surrounded on all sides by the Corrindale forest, too, which means that, as a nation, they tend to think of themselves as isolated, and the skyships let them address that, becoming connected like they’d somehow built a bridge over the ocean.


Mosetto trades a lot, with all its nearby nations. Skyships allow them to move goods that are very precious, and often need very specific containment rules, even if they’re not as good at moving things in bulk. Mosetto produces a lot of lumber, too – fungi that grow even out of the River’s boundaries are often treated and sold as cheap wood to other nations, lightweight and pretty strong. This wood isn’t used inside the cities, for, y’know, the stigma.

Mosetto also trades in information and maintains ongoing gambling houses tracking the values of different companies that are traded by share. This is a kind of gambling rich people seem to find very interesting and it can involve the companies themselves getting contributions of money, which also makes it desireable to criminals.

Look, pragmatically speaking, airships are the worst possible way to do what they’re doing unless they’re the only option. Transporting cargo by airship is expensive and hard because making things float is hard and the heavier they are the harder that is. When you start working on magical solutions, at scale, you eventually hit the problem of: why don’t I just teleport things there? Or, forking off that, you can look to solutions like the lightning rail, where magic is used to create an item that doesn’t need magic to run, and the resultant industrial object can do a ton of transport consistently and reliably. It’s a clear thing to the economists of Mosetto that skyship trade can’t do the volume of trade ships, can’t build infrastructure like the Abilen, and can’t do raw rote repetition like the Kobold trains.

The Skyships are only useful if you’re presented with an obstacle where going over saves enough time and presents enough reward to beat the much more convenient going around. This is what the River of Madness represents. At first the skyships weren’t even doing transport. They were doing surveyance, and then they were doing remittance – keeping the whole growth contained.

Now, the economy of Mosetto is bent around these things, made to manage all the needs of the Skyship and the things that Skyships let you do more, better, and faster. Because of that, they trade away a lot of their goods on the Highway for things that need to be used in bulk.

Makes and Sells: Magical components, cheap wood substitutes, peaches, apples, pears, finely machined shipping components like cables, blocks, tackles, plugs and struts.
Wants and Buys: Mosetto imports a lot of grains, even though they grow some of their own. Their demand for leather and canvas is almost bottomless, and as the Skyships became common, they began to demand all their components to the extent of needing to import them. They buy a lot of glass from Visente.

But About That River

… yes. In the River there’s a whole set of cultures of their own. These cultures tend to be small, ingroup focused, and often the result of mystical symbiosis with their own kind. The symbiosis makes them capable of surviving in the River, and they can present their own opinions of what the River means.

Glossary Note: Conventionally, the term used in D&D for this mechanical package is race. This is the typical term, and in most conversations about this game system, the term you’re going to wind up using is race. For backwards compatibility and searchability, I am including this passage here. The term I use for this player option is heritage.

One of the most important elements of the River to these people, the Sporekin, is that the spores are a communication system. Sporekin can breathe in and out spores that other Sporekin have breathed and use that as a communication system. In fact, breathing in the same kind of spores can transmit this information, which means the Sporekin have a surveillance system within the River that outdoes anything the Mosetto nation can have.

The Sporekin are a whole heritage – and they’re going to look familiar to anyone who knows the 4e heritage known as the Revenant.

Special Thanks: My friend Jade contributed a lot to the names in this country!