Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 13
Compiling week 13 of the project, comprised of an additional 7sites, this week military-oriented, of the City-State of Taodeas as shown below.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #85
Mar 26th, 2023
Name: United Tribal Forces (UTF) Headquarters
Location: Along the main highway midway between Blackstone Fortress and the Crossroads.
Population (approx.): 750 (support staff) + variable number of troops present
Brief: Nation building is an especially complex task, even moreso for a City-State aggregated together from a bundle of usually feuding or warring tribes. Four centuries ago, the tribes of Taodeas unified against the common threat of the Ta’arnan Empire. That threat remained persistent requiring the Taodean tribes to develop and maintain a substantial effective military. To that end, on the plains of Taodeas, between the Blackstone Fortress (#15) and the Crossroads (#54), the United Tribes created a complex for organizing and training their collective warriors. The United Tribal Forces (UTF) headquarters serves to track threats to the City-State, train warriors of the tribes to combat said threats and dispatches troops to and coordinates responses to imminent threats. The Council of Tribes appoints the commanders of the UTF, blessing them with autonomy to levy troops as required to preserve the City-State.
Geography: Spread over the plains, east of the highway, the UTF HQ features a central structure resembling a well-protected office building surrounded by compounds for each of the major tribes of the City-State. The main building contains offices for staff, many meeting rooms (usually to host squabbling tribal representatives), some workshops and a trophy room displaying relics and weapons captured by Taodean troops over the past 400 years (and 5 specific invasions from the south) of fighting. Outside in the front courtyard is displayed a nearly intact (but so far inoperable) Ta’arnan Plainswalker war construct.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #86
Mar 27th, 2023
Name: Orchunters’ Lodge
Location: Western slopes of the Lanu Maug
Population (approx.): 200 (support staff) and up to 1000 warriors at any time.
Brief: Like the Matui Riverwardens (#51), the Orchunters (once known as the Lanu Hillwardens, but they use their preferred sobriquet) take their charge, protection of the “eastern flank” of western Taodeas from the Grey Skull Orcs of the hills (#52), very very seriously. To that end, a strong presence was established in the foothills where the Orchunters congregate, share intelligence, are dispatched on missions and train the next generation of Hillwardens. They are led by a rather stocky halfling (some suggest there’s human blood in his family but not to his face) known as Maikkuku Bob. He is a rather silent fellow who, it is rumored, can turn to solid stone when not moving. He, and his brethren senior warriors, teach the very best they can recruit in the skills of seeking, stalking and slaying Orcs and any others who threaten the west. The Orchunters and Riverwardens enjoy a friendly rivalry which leads to competitive encounters where the Matui River enters the foothills of the Lanu Maug.
Geography: Orchunter’s Lodge can be found on the western slopes of the Lanu Maug about 75-80 miles (120 km) inland, about 30 miles south of Orcwatch Spire (#53) and 10-15 miles from the estimated borders of Grey Skull Orc territory. The Lodge is a large hillfort surrounded by a dry moat, palisade and stone-faced earthen walls. Within thick-walled almost halfling hole like buildings used as meeting rooms, dormitories, storage, mess hall, officer’s quarters and the like. The Lodge keeps a small stable of horses to run messages to the Dwarves to the north and to the two other Hillwarden Lodges to the south (each about a day’s travel apart).
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #87
Mar 28th, 2023
Name: Marshwardens’ Post aka Losers’ Hostel
Location: In the marshes of the Danthas River delta
Population (approx.): 50 (support staff) and 200-300 warriors
Brief: The UTF strives to serve the people of Taodeas as best they can, but sometimes they just aren’t up to the task at hand. The Wardens of the Danthas River delta have struggled a quite a bit as of late. Kana Sol, self-styled Queen of the Swamps (#20), has been making a mockery of the Marshwardens, to the point where their Post has been nicknamed the Losers’ Hotel. The garrison of the marsh is a mixed bag of poor warriors, weak leaders, disinterested staff and individuals in the pocket of the Swamp Queen. Missions typically fail whether due to ineptitude, sabotage, misadventure or straight up defeats at the hands of the bandits. Rumor suggests the Mataf Tribe, the largest and most influential in the area, is thinking of shipping the entire garrison back to UTF HQ (#85) and protecting themselves. (In the meantime, Mataf merchants spend the necessary coin to placate the Swamp Queen.)
Geography: The Marshwardens’ Post sits in the delta of the Danthas River along the main channel about 10 miles inland from the ocean. It was built several hundred years ago on a chunk of land raised out of the river by magicians. As one might expect, it has been slowly sinking ever since. The high points are mostly dry, covered by a single four-story stone tower surrounded by ramshackle huts and sheds. A motley assemblance of canoes, rafts, barges and boats line the soggy docks along the river.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #88
Mar 29th, 2023
Name: Baywardens’ Spire
Location: Westernmost point of Taodeas on Taop Bay
Population (approx.): 200 (support staff and residents) and up to 300 sailors at any time.
Brief: Taodeas has two coasts, the west on Taop Bay and the east on the great ocean. Thus, the UTF formed two different navies with different mandates and modes of operation. The Baywardens of the west serve to patrol the shallow waters, protecting local fishing fleets and merchant ships from pirates of the oceans, raiders of Lost Ta’arna to the west (such as at Reaver’s Rock (#22)) and the seaborne aberrations that manifest out of the Wastelands to the south. The Baywardens’ fleet, operating out of the harbor below the Spire, is composed of 2 dozen vessels led by their flagship, the Baymistress. The crews are mostly halfling and human, well trained and boasting possibly the highest morale of the City-State (perhaps it is the rum?).
Geography: Baywardens’ Spire was originally a tall lighthouse aiding all travel upon Taop Bay. The Ta’arnan’s reinforced the spire and added seeing lenses for tracking ships on the waters. A nearby small fishing village has been slowly integrated into the base, providing resources, supplemental housing and over the years, no small number of recruits. The Ta’arnans built, and the Taodeans reinforced a pair of breakwaters between the settlement and the spire to create the harbor for the fleet. It features two large dry docks, warehouses, workshops and piers capable of docking most of the fleet.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #89
Mar 30th, 2023
Name: Bloodview Fortress
Location: Western slopes of the Ulu Maug overlooking the Bloodsoaked Valley
Population (approx.): 200 (support staff) and up to 1000 warriors at any time. Each border fort garrison is about 100-300 warriors and non-combatants.
Brief: The united tribes of Taodeas chose their southern border wisely, using the two rivers, Matui and Danthas, to define a defensive line, augmented by the hills of Lanu and Ulu Maug. One natural pass remained to channel forces and creatures out of the Wastelands toward the north. Now secured, the subsequently named Bloodsoaked Pass (#18), is defended by the Border Wardens of the UTF headquartered at Bloodview Fortress. The troops at the keep regularly patrol the pass, garrison a string of border forts and scout the plains to the south for any signs of returning enemies or monstrosities.
Geography: The Bloodview Fortress was built on a mesa on the western edge of the Ulu Maug overlooking the Bloodsoaked Valley below. It features nigh impenetrable walls built of great blocks of ebony stone (the same as those at Blackstone Fortress (#15)) supplied and installed by the Dwarves of Clan Ironback (#50). Behind the walls, spotters in a half-dozen watch towers train fire from dozens of siege engines against any foes foolish enough to traverse the valley below. The keep features numerous warehouses, barracks and workshops. Underground storage, cisterns and wells enable the Border Wardens to endure a lengthy siege until they are relieved by UTF troops from Blackstone and points north.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #90
Mar 31st, 2023
Name: Eastwatch Harbor home to the High Seas Wardens
Location: Eastermost point of Taodeas
Population (approx.): 3,300 (town) and up to 2,000 (naval base)
Brief: The UTF aggregated the naval forces of the eastern tribes of Taodeas into a single military force, which named themselves the High Seas Wardens. The Wardens are headquartered in the town of Eastwatch Harbor which features the largest and best equipped port on the east coast. The Wardens patrol the coastline, paying specific attention to seaborn threats from the Wastelands, incursions by pirates from the north (who may or may not be in the pay of Noldrune or Ceannar) or arrivals from the distant lands across the eastern ocean. The High Seas Wardens pride themselves on being the best naval force there is within the four City-States, even when compared to their fellow UTF sailors of the Baywardens (#88).
Geography: Eastwatch Harbor is a large port town built in the early days of the rise of the Ta’arnan Empire. The Wardens’ docks and facilities occupy the north half of the harbor, merchants and fishing fleet dock in the south. Several islands, connected by raised seafloor and quarried stone, provide a breakwater several hundred yards offshore. The largest island hosts a combined lighthouse and keep of the Wardens, their telescopes and spells keeping constant watch on the seas beyond.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #91
April 1st, 2023
Name: High Plains Drifters
Location: Weatherton in the southwest corner of the Tuton Maug
Population (approx.): 400 (Settlement) and up to 300 Earthwardens and Airwardens
Brief: The Tuton Maug covers over 10,000 square miles of north central Taodeas and is sparsely populated and hard to patrol. The UTF established a base on the footsteps of the hills to train both Earthwardens (scouts and spelunkers specializing in underground exploration) and Airwardens (cavalry with winged mounts and aircrews manning lighter-than-air vessels). The former undertakes expeditions into natural and Kin-made underground passages, keeping a watchful eye out for both newly spawned and ancient once-buried horrors of the lightless depths. The latter experiments with both natural and mechanical means to patrol the skies above the Tuton Maug and Taodeas as a whole. The natural means involves working with Sky Priests to find, tame and breed any number of winged creatures capable of serving as a mount. The mechanical means involves working with mechanicians and alchemists to build lighter than air vehicles usually involving hot air or other gases plus some form of propulsion (sails or fans). To date both groups have presented to the UTF enough success that they may continue their efforts.
Geography: Weatherton is a small logging and mining village on a mesa in the southwest Tuton Maug. The military base, whose troops nicknamed themselves the High Plains Drifters after a failed flight that left a crew drifting across the plains to the west for several weeks until rescued, was built on the outskirts of the village. It features three barracks, two workshops, a warehouses chapel to the Gods of Air and Light, and mess hall. Several fenced enclosures are home to the winged mounts of the Airwardens. Two open areas several as the “airfield” for their sky vessels.