Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #31

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #31 

Jan 31st 2023 

  • Number: 31 

  • Name: The Inviolate Spring 

  • Location: Saut Oasis, the source of the Saut River 

  • Population (approx.):  Varies 

  • Brief:  Near the center of the Mu Onno desert is a wondrous ever-present spot of greenery, the Saut Oasis. Since history has been written in this region, the spring waters have provided the source of the Saut River. The caravansary currently at the site was built on the ruins of a similar building destroyed 30 years ago during the 5th Plainswalker wars versus the City-State of Taodeas to the north. A local tribal group with ties to the Travellers Guild of the Collegium maintains the oasis and protects the spring. The caravansary features a large Inn, a chapel devoted to the waters and both open air and closed roofed stables, the latter surrounded by the walls that protect the Inn. Trails depart the oasis north along the river, west into the Ulu Maug foothills and south and east into the desert. The locals do not recommend travel into the Mu Onno, telling tales of wind and sand demons that appear and disappear in an instant. 

  • Geography:  The Saut Oasis can be found in the western half of the Mu Onno desert in sight of the southern foothills of the Ulu Maug mountain range. The Saut River starts at the spring and flows roughly northeastward until it merges with the Danthas River and flows east to the ocean. The source of the spring is deep underground and is rumored to be magical but no one on the surface has ev

Monday, January 30, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #30

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #30 

Jan 30th 2023 

  • Number: 30 

  • Name: The Lost Peak 

  • Location: Southern end of the Afale Maug 

  • Population (approx.): None known 

  • Brief:  Another example of internecine strife that plagued the Ta’arnan Empire is the volcanic caldera known as the Lost Peak. Centuries ago, a mountain peak played host to an Aerie of the God of Air and Sky. It was popular with pilgrims and supported the local settlements on the slopes below. But somewhen and somehow an enemy was made, it was never said whether of Earth or Fire, but one day the entire peak vanished in a roaring explosion of smoke, ash, and flame. Debris, followed by mud and lava flows covered the landscape for miles in all directions. When the dust cleared, a volcanic caldera remained which to this day emits smoke and fire from time to time. 

  • Geography: The Aerie was built about the summit of one of the tallest hills on the southern edge of the Afale Maug. The site overlooked the great plains which stretched east and south. Today the ruined settlements, on the flanks of the Lost Peak, have long since been reclaimed by nature and most disappeared from view. Explorers and adventurers combing the hills but avoiding the dormant caldera have unearthed a relic or two in years past.  

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #29

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #29 

Jan 29th 2023 

  • Number: 29 

  • Name: Church-State of Earth and Water 

  • Location: Northwest corner of the Wastelands between the Matui River and the Ocean. 

  • Population (approx.): 90,000 

  • Brief:  As the Ta’arnan Empire struggled to maintain coherency at its apex, schisms developed within the associated Churches of the Six (likely due to the darker practices adopted by those in power who were susceptible to Corruption). Several congregations of Pala (Earth) and Vai (Water) fled the populated south to a region on the south edge of the Taop Bay. As Ta’arnan collapsed over the following decades, the priests established their own Church-State ruled by Bishops and guarded by holy Knights. The twin parishes have maintained control over the years, warding off attacks from both the entities and peoples of the Wastelands as well as occasional raids by the Tribes of Taodeas to the northeast across the river. The priests and population are wary of any who worship the other four Gods leading to rumors of harsh treatment, violence and even slavery of those not faithful to Earth or Water. 

  • Geography: The Church-State covers approximately 3000 square miles of the irregular coastline south of Taop Bay between the western ocean and Matui River to the east. A cluster of low hills provides a marker of the southern border but little protection versus outsiders. Most of the population is cluster in settlements on the two peninsulas and the mainland a day’s travel inland. 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 4

Compiling week 4 of the project, comprised of 7 settlements and/or sites of Forgotten Ta'arna near the City-State of Carasta as shown below.


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #22 

Jan 22nd 2023 

  • Number: 22 

  • Name: Reaver’s Rock 

  • Location: Southern coast of the Narrows, west side of Taop Bay. 

  • Population (approx.): Varies but 200-400 when occupied 

  • Brief: As the Ta’arnan Empire dissolved into the four current City-States, most military sites, castles and bases, were taken over by the new local governments. But outside of the City-States numerous sites were simply abandoned. Reaver’s Rock was a substantial naval base on Taop Bay, whose vessels patrolled the bay and nearby ocean. Since the fall, the site has used by a variety of minor local lords as well as pirates and buccaneers over the centuries who have had varying levels of success until either dispersed by the City-States or dissolving due to internal issues or inertia. 

  • Geography: Now named Reaver’s Rock by the locals, the old naval base was built into a connected series of sea caves under a large cliff projecting into the bay. Tunnels and chambers ascend from the caves to a keep, lighthouse and fortifications on the surface. In its heyday the base could support a dozen large vessels and several thousand sailors and troops. The remains of settlements cover the slopes inland of the base. The current occupants, self-named Ghosts and commanded by Burne 'Ghostly' Thunder, number about a hundred (including hangers-on and non-sailors) manning two small sloops. So far their raids have yet to warrant a response from the Taodean Navy.  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #23 

Jan 23th 2023 

  • Number: 23 

  • Name:  Deep Mining Station 3A 

  • Location: The Furnace, a site of the Narrow’s Rift Valley somewhat south southwest of Carasta and the coast.  

  • Population (approx.): Unknown due to trade secrets but guessed to be 300-800 

  • Brief:  As the machines of the underearth slowly widen the narrows, rifts and crevasses are created and reveal the depths to the Kin of the surface world. The Dwarven Mining Guild, and associated Guild members, have built a number of mines across the Rift Valley to explore below. Deep Mining Station 3A is one of the largest and most ambitious of the projects. However, the closed mouth Guild says little about what if anything has been found in the underworld except to say the project has “exceeded all expectations.” A number of well armored caravans, both ground and air, departing the site suggests they have found something worth their while. 

  • Geography: Stations 3A and 3B are built into a rift nicknamed the Furnace by the locals. Over 2 miles below the surface is an irregular floor of steam vents and magma pools, both frequently shaken or rippled by earthquakes. Station 3A, now at least several centuries old, features a complex of buildings on the surface including barracks, dormitories, offices, warehouses and a small factory all surrounded by a circular wall with strong defenses. Stairs descend along the inside walls of the Furnace while tunnels were dug into the stone. Galleries extend into the underdark while platforms hover over the magma and vents of the Furnace’s floor. The Rift Valley and the crevasse widen about an inch a year (8 feet a century or 50-100 feet for some of the older Dwarves of the Guild). 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #24 

Jan 24th 2023 

  • Number: 24 

  • Name: Feystone Approach 

  • Location:  On the eastern edge  of the Feystone Woods about 160 miles west of Obermarsh 

  • Population (approx.): 1,100 

  • Brief:  In its heydey the Ta’arnan Empire stretched northward along the coasts to either side of the Gold Mountains. Feystone Approach was founded as a meeting place between the Ta’arnans and the local Fey population. As its influence and control waned, many settlements in the north were left to their own devices. Feystone Approach is one of the few trying to maintain its tradition of civil relations with the Elves of the Feystone Woods and the distant population of the City-State of Carasta. Although the roads from west to east have fallen into disrepair, a small number of caravans make the 1-to-2-week journey from Feystone Approach to trade with the coast. 

  • Geography: Feystone Approach was built on a several small hills overlooking the expanse of the woods to the west. The population was once two to four times higher, hence there are a goodly number of empty structures surrounding a smaller inhabited core. The center of town features a great square surrounded by several cathedrals, the town keep and adjoining Lord Mayor’s residence. Feystone Approach is a self-declared Freetown taking great pains to be a peaceful presence compared to some of the more martially inclined manors and villages further south beyond the woods. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #25 

Jan 25th 2023 

  • Number: 25 

  • Name: The Blasted Circle within the Ashen Expanse 

  • Location:  Southeastern end of the Feystone Woods. 

  • Population (approx.): None living. Unknown number of spirits. 

  • Brief: Fifteen centuries or so ago, Kin of the northern continent did not take too kindly to the expansion of the southern Ta’arnan Empire across the Narrows and into their lands. One of many inevitable confrontations occurred within the southern border of the Feystone Woods. Elves and other allied Kin of the north versus Ta’arnan Legionnaires and their supporting Casters and Chanters. The result was a disaster with no victor and resultant flat dark gray circle of melted earth about 10 miles in diameter surrounded by a swath of dead light gray forest. This dead zone has persisted to the present day. Locals swear that there are many restless spirits bound to the petrified trees surrounding the scarred ground of Aenwyld. 

  • Geography:  The Ashen expanse covers a half-moon shaped swath of the Feystone Forest measuring approximately 350-400 square miles. Nothing lives within the boundary but locals and fauna can pass through without ill effects if they can avoid the undead therein. The Blasted Circle, at the center, is fairly flat and circular and radiates faint remnant magicks 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #26 

Jan 26th 2023 

  • Number: 26 

  • Name: Stonewood Shipwrights 

  • Location: Concealed from view somewhere along the west coast of the Narrows within the Feystone Woods 

  • Population (approx.): 20-30 

  • Brief: Unique properties of the native materials have been known to the Elven inhabitants of the Feystone Woods for centuries. One set of craftsfolk use ancient techniques to slowly sing wood and stone into the unique forms of Elven sailing vessels. The Stonewood Shipwrights may take as long as decades to build a vessel depending on its purpose and the desires of the potential owner and captain. There is but a single dry dock in their settlement for the Shipwrights focus on only one project at a time, having done so for centuries, and will not be hurried under any circumstance. 

  • Geography: A narrow and quiet stream empties into the ocean along the northwest edge of the Feystone Woods. If one were to follow the stream inland, just beyond the border of the woods, the waters widen into a small lake. The Shipwrights’ settlement is built upon the north shore surrounded by the ancient tall trees. There are several piers, small boats tied to the pilings, on either side of a single dry dock. A number of workshops and residences form an arc about the site. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #27 

Jan 27th 2023 

  • Number: 27 

  • Name: The Lost Resort 

  • Location: The island of Solom Auro off the coast north of Feystone Woods and west of the Mountains of Gold. 

  • Population (approx.):  100-120 

  • Brief:  At the height of the Ta’arnan Empire, the rich and powerful gathered and hobnobbed at sites across the breadth of the continents. One of those sites was the resort island of Solom Auro (literally Retreat of Gold). As the Empire collapsed, the rich vanished leaving the local caretakers behind. Buildings were shuttered, then cannibalized or raided, and then eventually decayed and even collapsed. The inhabited areas condensed into a small fishing village on the east side of the island where the weather and waters were favorable. With no country or noble claiming Solom Auro, the locals have self-governed for the past 500 years, trading with similar friendly small settlements on the mainland. 

  • Geography:  Solom Auro is a hilly forested island of about 50 square miles. Its northeastern most point is but a mile or two from the nearest point of the mainland, across a narrow strait. The main harbor on the south coast has been abandoned for years and mostly reclaimed by nature. Most of the manors of rich and nobles, that dotted the inland hills, are in a similar state. A single settlement, with no name of note, sits on the east coast facing the mainland. The inhabitants are a mix of fishers, farmers and hunters with a crafter or two and a priest to the local gods. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #28 

Jan 28th 2023 

  • Number: 28 

  • Name: The Gatherer 

  • Location: Among the manors in the hills north of  Taop Bay. 

  • Population (approx.):  1,200 and growing 

  • Brief:  In the hills and meadows of the southern Narrows, remnants of the Ta’arnan Empire cling to old forms and traditions. One such person is a young self-styled Baron, Antus Peregrine, who now rules a cluster of manors and settlements having deposed or conquered prior rulers including his own father. Nicknamed “the Gatherer” for he is slowly attracting and collecting all manner of Ta’arnan faithful to his side via fiery speeches harkening to a return to the glory of the Empire for all who follow him. As numbers grow, Antus and his comrades must expand to feed and clothe his new faithful and hence are eyeing raiding the border of Taodeas especially the west coast of Lake Loloto Pogisa. The gathering numbers have been noted by the Dwarves at Deep Mining Station 3A, who’ve relayed the intelligence to Carasta. 

  • Geography:  The west and north coast of Taop Bay is full of rolling hills covered with small woods, old and new farmsteads and a dozen or more small settlements, usually a half-day to day’s travel apart, centered about manor houses once ruled by landed Knights and lesser Nobles of old. Over the centuries the population has ebbed and flowed with events of the area both environmental (disease, monsters, storms and the like) and Kinmade (raids and consolidation).