Stormhelm’s proximity to
the sea and its extensive and famous Vaults make sinkholes
a relatively common phenomena in the city. For the
most part, these sinkholes measure no more than a few
feet in diameter, leading the church of Waukeen to send out
crews of volunteers to patch up the streets or flooring.
Occasionally, though, these sinkholes expand to as much
as a dozen feet or more in diameter. The open-air sea cave
under the Posh and Turtle resulted from one
such collapse. The largest recorded sinkhole in
Stormhelm’s history opened up just north of the Pillar Wall.
Engulfing an area nearly 300 feet in diameter, this immense
hole fortunately swallowed only a few buildings
(thanks to it occurring in a relatively unpopulated part
of the city).
Unfortunately for the city, the sinkhole did not occur
naturally, and for the first time the people of Korvosa came
in contact with ankhegs that continue to infrequently plague
the city. Completely unprepared for anything like ankhegs,
the city fell into a panic. Luck shined on Stormhelm,
though, as the Scions of Puris—an adventuring band of
some repute at the time—happened to be nearby. Without
hesitation, the Scions of Puris delved into the sinkhole and,
over the course of a few days, cleared it of ankheg threat. When
they emerged the final time, though, they brought out their
beloved leader, Mina Kendall, in a blood-stained bag.
In conjunction with the church of Waukeen, dwarven stonemasters stabilized the ground around the
sinkhole. They built a series of supporting walls with narrow
doorways that allowed access to the newly discovered Vault
beyond, allowing additional construction near the hole.
Three years later, the Scions of Puris returned to Stormhelm to
witness the grand opening of a massive open-air auditorium
the city named after their beloved former leader.
Today, Kendall Amphitheater partially hangs suspended above the sinkhole’s opening. A complicated series of arches and pillars holds it aloft, while two concealed sets of stairs allow descent into the large Vault beneath it. Most of the bowl that forms the seating area for Kendall Amphitheater consists of carefully smoothed basalt. The benches, stage, and partial roof are all built of spruce. Directly beneath the stage hangs a second floor made of red pine that houses various mechanical contraptions to lift platforms up to the stage.
While the amphitheater primarily hosts open-air performances (as well as performances done beneath the vast sloped roof covering most of the stage), it does occasionally present games and contests. Due to safety concerns (as ankheg seem drawn by the smell of blood), none of the games involve actual combat or bloodshed. Instead, feats of strength, races, obstacle courses, and other such contests prove quite popular with the patrons and amphitheater owners.
Kendall Vault, the large cave complex beneath the amphitheater, occasionally receives visitors in the forms of explorers seeking new passages, Stormhelm Guards patrolling for new outbreaks of ankheg, and dwarves looking for subtle clues of further erosion. Even after more than a hundred years of stability, the dwarves staunchly insist on performing the inspection twice a decade. They remind their short-sighted human friends that a hundred years means as little to stone as a second does to them.
Plaza of Scions: Directly northwest of Kendall Amphitheater stand tall statues of the Scions of Puris: the beautiful Mina Kendall (in the center), irascible Nurin Dutirrinog (to the south), and ever-pious Xanen Ptal (to the north). These statues mark the divide between the covered stage of the amphitheater and the brick-paved Plaza of Scions.