Compiling week 3 of the project, comprised of 7 settlements and/or sites of the City-State of Taodeas as shown below.
Jan 15th 2023
Name: Blackstone Fortress, Capital of the City-State of Taodeas
Location: Northern edge of the Ulu Maug (Black Mountains) in south central Taodeas north of border with the Wastelands
Population (approx.): 20,200
Brief: Blackstone Fortress was originally a minor stronghold of a Taodean tribe in service to the Ta’arnan Empire. As the Empire crumbled and the northern City-States declared their independence, the tribes of the region gathered at Blackstone and united to drive the remnants of the T’arnan Legions off of their lands. Blackstone grew in size and importance over the years, due to the continued conflicts with invaders from the south, becoming the home to the Council of Tribes. The city expanded into the plains, adding minor keeps for each major Tribe, plus wards for industry and residents.
Geography: Blackstone Fortress and the surrounding city is built on a series of terraces along the northern edge of the Ulu Maug. In the distant past of Taodeas, a tribe encountered and forged a relationship with a Clan of Dwarves native to the Mountains. Those Dwarves assisted in carving the great blocks of ebony stone that form the walls of the main keep, lesser keeps and the city itself. Some form of inherent strength, enchantment or alchemical process has made the stone impervious to most forms of attack thus Blackstone Fortress’ walls have never been breached and the city has never fallen to outside attack.
Jan 16th 2023
Location: Westernmost Taodeas where the Seaward Canal begins from Lake Loloto Pogisa
Population (approx.): 2,100
Brief: In the early days of the Ta’arnan Empire, as it expanded northward, Imperial Engineers decided that a trade route from sea to sea would be profitable and could be accomplished across the Narrows. They established a worksite at what is now Canalhead and began to dig a canal south west to connect Lake Loloto Pogisa to the sea via several small lakes and the Alavai River. Once the canal was completed, Canalhead evolved from work site to settlement to the large town of today.
Geography: Canalhead sits at the southwest corner of Lake Loloto Pogisa. The bulk of the town sits upon a rise above the lake, looking down on the numerous docks dotted with barges, small merchanters and fishing vessels. Warehouses, customs and maritime trades fill the gaps. A tall and ornate keep, built centuries ago by Ta’arnan Engineers as their offices and monument to their own skills (and hubris some say), is home to Canalhead’s Lord Mayor, related notable families and various local officials. The western side of town features more modern fortifications built by the City-State to fend of ex-Ta'arnan and other raiders who attack out of the wastes of the Narrows.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #17
Jan 17th 2023
Location: Westernmost Taodeas where the Seaward Canal and River meet the ocean
Population (approx.): 2,900
Brief: Taosport is one of the oldest settlements of the continent, having existed as a fishing village or town of various sizes for recorded history. Once the Ta’arnan Empire completed the canal from Lake Loloto Pogisa, Taosport grew to its current size and population, that of a large town. Although the birthplace of the Taos Tribe who lead the unification of the Free Tribes to drive the Ta’arnans south, Taosport is home to a number of peoples with pro-Ta'arnan sentiments and connections to the remnants of the Empire in the Narrows to the west.
Geography: Taosport is a unique collection of stone or wooden enclosed wards along both sides of the Seaward River. The largest is the once Imperial Port, built by the same engineers who created the canals, now controlled by the City-State, and features the largest docks, piers, outfitters, customs houses and warehouses. Others are controlled by either Tribes, Guild shipping concerns or fishing fleets, the latter usually home to all related families as well. Business, residences and farms spread out from the town up the slopes of the coastal hills on either side of the river, along the coast.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #18
Jan 18th 2023
Name: Bloodsoaked Valley
Location: Southern border of Taodeas between the Lanu Maug and Ulu Maug mountain ranges.
Population (approx.): Scattered frontier forts of 40-100
Brief: During the spread of civilization across the continent, the valley between the opposing Lanu Maug and Ulu Maug ranges became an important route from south to north, because most of the land to the west and east is blocked by 2 major rivers (Matui to the west and Danthas to the east). The valley, a chokepoint, was heavily contested during Taodeas’ war for independence versus the dwindling forces of the Ta’arnan Empire. After a number of years, the Unified Tribes drove out the Legions, leaving behind trampled ground whose colors resembled dried blood to this very day. It was nicknamed the Bloodsoaked Valley by the locals.
Geography: The floor of the valley is over 50 miles long from north to south, hills rising relatively sharply to west and east. The stretch is dotted with a number of ruined settlements and studiously avoided battlefields (where strange magics and the restless dead tend to persist). Taodeas has built a number of forts along the notional border with wastelands beyond, where frontier rangers keep a wary eye to the south and protect the few travelers who still use the remains of the highway for their own purposes.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #19
Jan 19th 2023
Name: The Gap aka The Crack in the World
Location: Southern edge of the Lanu Maug near the southernmost reaches of Taodeas
Population (approx.): None known but the Watchers of the Dark Regiment (100-200)
Brief: During the “dark times” of the Ta’arnan Empire, priests and associates undertook all manner of somewhat dangerous investigations into the nature of magic. In the underdark below the Lanu Maug, mining-clerics of Pala Stonecrusher discovered a deep Ley Line running west to east. At some point over five centuries ago, something happened, perhaps a ritual went wrong or a thing was summoned, and a great earthquake ripped the ground asunder from deep underground all the way to the mountains above. The Ta’arnans vanished in the disaster and nearby Dwarves and surface-dwelling Kin abandoned the area in all haste.
Geography: The Gap is a great rift zig-zagging west to east across the Lanu Maug for about 30 miles. It is 800 feet across at its widest, but generally averaging 200-300 feet. The maximum depth is unknown. The surface is devoid of flora for half to a full mile to either side. Fauna avoids the area. Locals have recorded all manner of strange phenomena along the rift including strange noises echoing up from the depths, bursts of light and color launching into the sky and what some sensitives describe as weird ripples and bubbles of magic floating out of the darkness.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #20
Jan 20th 2023
Name: Realm of the Self-proclaimed Swamp Queen
Location: The marshy delta of the Danthas River near the coast of Taodeas
Population (approx.): 700-900
Brief: The borders and wilderness of Taodeas are home to all manner of Kin living on the fringes of society some of whom do not necessarily recognize the authority of Blackstone Fortress. One of them is Kana Sol, self-styled Queen of a section of the swampy delta of the Danthas River. She has established a bandit fort on one of the few dry stretches of ground and makes a living, for her and her criminal gang, raiding river traffic between Blackstone and the ports of the coast. The forces of the United Tribes have made several efforts to root Ms. Sol out of the swamps with no success. River traffic is either well protected or hires “river guides” (one of the Queen’s bandits) for safe passage.
Geography: East of where the Saut River joins the great Danthas, the latter becomes wider and sluggish, meandering through an area of wetlands that frequently floods from the west after winter and from the east due to ocean storms. There are a small number of relatively high and dry islands rising above the branches of the river. Years ago priests of the waters established a monastery on one island. Later abandoned, for reasons lost to history, the site is now home to Kana Sol and her followers. From there she controls the marshes for a day’s sail in each direction.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #21
Jan 21st 2023
Name: Aai Lau (City of Trees)
Location: Within the Greatwood on the Eastern slopes of the Tuton Maug
Population (approx.): 16,100
Brief: Kin of Aenwyld have lived in and about the Greatwood for time immemorial. The origins of the central city, Aai Lau, are lost in the same mists of the past. But it has grown into a large and sprawling city carefully threading in and about the great trees of the surrounding forest. Architecture reflects aspects of the local Fey and Pastoral cultures. The Tribes of the Woods joined the United Tribes of Taodeas, contributing their hunters, rangers and feared archers, and thus Aai Lau became the 2nd largest city of Taodeas.
Geography: Aai Lau is a roughly circular city covering several square miles of the Greatwood. Structures cover the ground and rise into the skies, perched on the huge boughs of Greatwood’s most ancient trees. The Fey magicians and woods Priests work in harmony with nature so that any buildings cause no harm to the surrounding flora. A number of highways pass through the Greatwood connecting Aai Lau to Dwarven Holds in the Tuton Maug and to the towns and settlements of the coast to the east and hills to the south.