Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 10
Compiling week 10 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 settlements and/or sites of the Wastelands south of the City-State of Taodeas as shown below.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #64
Mar 5th 2023
Name: The Lost Coast
Location: Northwest corner of the Wastelands west of the Afale Maug
Population (approx.): None living but undead and strange magical phenomena have been encountered.
Brief: During the fall of the Ta’arnan Empire, the Churches of Earth and Water organized a retreat of their allied forces to the two peninsulas northwest of the Afale Maug (see #29). Organized Legion remnants and other military forces pursued, raiding caravans and driving refugees back south or east toward the aggressive and soon to be independent Taodean Tribes. The combat priests and paladins were stretched thin trying to defend both the coastal path and the Matui River pass around the Afale Maug A decision was made, and a pair of great rituals were conducted. Earth wardens raised a great berm of rock and soil between the sea and the foothills. Water bearers summoned the ocean to inundate the lands south of the berm. A great tidal wave scoured the land, crushing abandoned settlements and enemy troops, pushing the debris miles inland into the Afale Maug foothills. Eventually the ocean returned to its home, leaving a wide-open space infertile to most flora, but the magic remained, and it was hostile to any future intruders. It is now known as the Lost Coast for the sacrifice of good earth and water to the cause.
Geography: The Lost Coast is a broken expanse of dried mud flats mixed with stagnant pools of salt water. Very little grows except for stunted flora tolerant of the watery mix of salt and magic. It extends inland from the ocean anywhere from 25 to 50 miles (38 to 75 km) and covers the coast from the border of the Church-State of Earth and Water (#29) about 60 miles (90 km) south. The eastern border, against the foothills of the Afale Maug, is a line of displaced rubble and debris, now mixed with scrub and brush, perhaps 2 miles wide. The Lost Coast appears benign, but the landscape is hostile to any trespassers not aligned with the Church-State to the north.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #65
Mar 6th 2023
Location: Easternmost point of the Wastelands
Population (approx.): 1,500 (station and settlement)
Brief: In the collapse and turmoil of the fall of Ta’arna, most of the Guilds retreated north to friendlier lands. But the Sailor’s Guild, assisted by the Astrologers, determined that oceans east of coast may have been Corrupted in some fashion during the battles. (One rumor suggests some sort of giant aberration escaped its bonding and hides in the depths.) Volunteers took over one of the remaining Decree Lighthouses, restored the harbor and occupied an adjacent village, renaming both as Stormwatch. Marines and Mercenaries protect the site, Seers keep a wary eye seaward while Sailors patrol north and south. Stormwatch’s remote location has insulated it from most raids originating in the Wastelands. Seeing the success of the complex, other Guilds have begun using the village as a starting point for sending agents on scouting expeditions into the Wastelands.
Geography: Stormwatch is about 50 miles east of the Silent Colossus (#33), on a long slope descending to a triangular shaped natural harbor. The lighthouse was built on a stone outcropping on the north point of the triangle with the village across the water to the south and a small stream entering the ocean at the point of the harbor. Naval ships dock to the north and merchanters and fishing boats by the village. A low wall encircles the entire site with several towers and a main gate next to the culvert over the stream.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #66
Mar 7th 2023
Name: Old Ghost Lake
Location: Southern Lanu Maug
Population (approx.): None known
Brief: The centuries of death and destruction throughout the four City-States left many dead. Due to the violent and/or sorcerous nature of their deaths, many souls remained trapped on Aenwyld as lost souls drifting across the countryside. For some reason, perhaps due to its purity or sense of peace, many drifted into the Lanu Maug and arrived at a quiet mountain lake. Stories from hunters and trappers drifted down the hills to settlements, telling of the waters where old ghosts gathered. Rumor suggests that some ghosts wait for lost loves or companions before they crossover while others can go to their rest if they encounter a distant relative. But, given their nature, most avoid the ghosts about the lake, not seeing the beautiful sight of their faint phosphorescent glow reflecting of the mountain waters.
Geography: In the southern hills of the Lanu Maug range, just over the notional border with Taodeas, is Old Ghost Lake. Fed by snowmelt and spring rains, it is the main source of the Matui River flowing west toward Taop Bay. Aside from animals, the only inhabitants are a hunter or two, who for whatever reason are not afraid of the local undead, or priests and scholars who visit specifically to commune with or question the resident ghosts.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #67
Mar 8th 2023
Name: Hammer and the Horror
Location: South of Clan Ironback’s Canton (#50) in the Ulu Maug range.
Population (approx.): Varies, up to 50-100 per expedition or encampment
Brief: The Canton of Clan Ironback claims by ancestral right the Ulu Maug south of the capital of Taodeas (Blackstone Fortress, #15) and across the notional southern border of the City-State. Tunnels have been driven throughout the underdark connecting chambers both natural and dwarf-made. Expeditions gather the strongest of the willing miners and warriors, to attempt to find the rarest of ores and gems on journeys known as “Hammer and the Horror.” The groups explore depths unknown hoping to find and exploit minerals in place, cleaving gems and forging ingots in the darkness to minimize the weight carried back home. Warriors stand watch and guard versus varied foes such as Orcs, Trolls, deep Elementals, Corrupted creatures and even some terrors from outside of Aenwyld.
Geography: The main underground avenues extend south from Clan Ironback (#50) into the Wastelands. Tunnels branch left and right, descending deeper into the earth, becoming narrower and rougher with every mile. Once one is 50 miles (80 km) from the Canton, natural tunnels outnumber dwarf-made passages. Here the miners and ore-seekers are tested to their limits of perception to find new lodes and veins. Here the warriors live on an axe’s edge for an attack may strike from any direction at any time.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #68
Mar 9th 2023
Name: South Plains Tar
Location: South of the Afale Maug range in the central plains of the Wastelands
Population (approx.): 1,000-2,000 in surrounding settlements
Brief: A wide stretch of the plains is covered with pools of pitch, tar and oil oozing to the surface from deep underground. Natives of the area have collected surface deposits for centuries to refine and trade with others or for their own crafting and rituals. During the years of the Ta’arnan Empire, the South Plains Tar became the center of contention between the Churches of Earth and Fire who squabbled over control with competing claims of the origins of the resources. Numerous skirmishes were fought between Clerics and followers of either side, usually leaving the plains aflame and many combatants burned alive or drowned face down in black sticky death.
Geography: South Plains Tar is a somewhat circular stretch of flatlands about 50 miles (80 km) across comprised of inky black pools of oil pushing up through broken rock and earth. A small number of settlements, linked by trails to nearby trade routes, sit on the border of the Tar fields. Small (and now poor chapels) to Earth and/or Fire can be found in the center of each. With the fall of the Ta’arnan Empire most organized trade collapsed and the remaining locals struggle to make a living.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #69
Mar 10th 2023
Name: Heliostat Citadel
Location: A great circular valley on the western slopes of the UIu Maug
Population (approx.): About 1,000 at most
Brief: In the heyday of Ta’arna, the Church of Light built a great tower on the western slopes of the central hills. The surrounding land was cleared, flattened and covered with reflective surfaces (smoothed stones, metal sheets and even large mirrors on mechanisms) of all shapes and sizes. Each piece was carefully crafted by the Light’s enchanters and alchemists to focus all manner of light toward the top of the Citadel, forming the Heliostat. The light was divided by prisms and reflected by mirrors into various chambers of the Citadel for both ceremonies, study and crafting. As T’arna declined, so did the Church. The Citadel came under numerous attacks by forces of the other Churches and corrupted fiends, the damage to the mirror array and the tower itself was substantial. The faithful and staff of the Church fled with few to return.
Geography: The Heliostat Citadel sits on a basalt base in the center of a bowl-shaped depression about 1000 feet radius. The tower itself, of white stone with numerous windows and openings, rises almost 300 feet to the skies and may have been taller in its heyday. The surrounding hills were covered with a once bustling town just outside a circular curtain wall. A high percentage of the buildings are now ruined, with a small village on the north edge of the site being home to the only inhabitants.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #70
Mar 11th 2023
Name: Danthas Crossings
Location: South bank of the Danthas River west of Canyonview (#55)
Population (approx.): 1,500 (Danthas Crossings on the south bank) and 1,000 (Northside on the north bank)
Brief: The structures at Danthas Crossings, especially those carved into the cliffs overlooking the river, date back to the earliest settlements of the Kin on the continent. As time passed, the settlement expanded throughout the cliffside including topside buildings. And eventually the inhabitants sought to reach the north bank of the river. This led to numerous “crossings” spanning the gap, from simple wood and rope bridges to more complex gondolas and cable car systems for passengers and cargo. And for the brave, one way “zip lines” allow a single person to zip from the heights of the Crossings to the north bank below. Danthas Crossings has managed to avoid most of the turmoil of recent centuries and the locals maintain cordial relations with the neighboring settlement of Northside on the north bank, now part of the City-State of Taodeas.
Geography: The Danthas River on its easterly course, cuts through the foothills of the Ulu Maug mountains to the west, forming the cliffs overlooking the river at the Crossings. Similar cliffs, carved from the Tuton Maug range, rise to the east on the north bank (see Canyonview #55). The original village was carved into the cliffs, perhaps by expanding natural openings or caves. Tunnels inside and narrow staircases, on the cliff face, connect the several levels and the surface above. A highway, beginning further west, connects Danthas Crossings to other towns along the Danthas River. The numerous bridges and cables connect the town to Northside, the lower north bank and the Taodean roads.