Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 14
Compiling week 14 of the project, comprised of an additional 7sites, this week guild-oriented, of the City-State of Carasta as shown below.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #92
April 2nd, 2023
Name: Ashen Observatory
Location: Small hilltop east of the Ashen Expanse
Population (approx.): 50-60
Brief: The individual Guilds of the Guild Collegium, forming the government of the City-State of Carasta, have many and varied interests across the lands claimed and beyond. As might be expected, the Arcane Guild finds the on-going and remnant magical phenomena of the Narrows to be both interesting and of potential use to their research and greater goals. The Ashen Expanse (#25) being one such site warranted the construction of a permanent observatory on the borders of the dead forest. The tower plays host to two resident magicians (and their apprentices, companions and personal guards) and anywhere from three to five other visiting spellusers at any one time. The site is maintained by members of the Innkeeper’s Guild and protected by a small cohort of Mercenaries from companies with long-term associations with the Arcane Guild.
Geography: The Ashen Observatory was built upon a small hillock about 3 miles east of the border of the Ashen Expanse. It stands seven stories tall, the top being a lighthouse-like platform with telescopes and other devices. The base is at the center of a T-shaped complex with permanent residences in the south wing, visitor’s rooms in the north wing and a longer east wing full of meeting rooms, laboratories, a library and a fine dining hall. Two adjacent buildings house the building staff and the guards.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #93
April 3rd, 2023
Name: Driftwood Cove
Location: A day’s journey north of the Caravansary on the Coastal Highway
Population (approx.): 340
Brief: Despite healthy trade with the other three City-States of the region, Carasta has always turned its eyes northward to the great States like Amthor. Over the past four hundred years they’ve worked to establish both land and sea routes between the Narrows and the north. The coastal highway is maintained by the Traveller’s Guild, supported by the Builders and Innkeepers guild, protected by Mercenaries plus assisted by Fishers, Loggers and Miners Guilds depending on the nearby terrain. Driftwood Cove is a small Guild-supported settlement several days north of Obermarsh. The currents of Staplefish Bay constantly deposit debris and wrecks along the shores of the cover, making a harbor difficult and fishing for staplefish tricky. But the village is a haven for scroungers, artists and crafters making wonders from driftwood, shells and bone. The Guilds have managed to capitalize on the activities making Driftwood Cove a stable and viable settlement on the highway.
Geography: Driftwood Cove is a village spread out across the slopes between the coast highway upslope to the west and the shores of the Staplefish Bay downslope to the east. It has two, occasionally competing inns of good quality, the Guild (village) Hall, shops, a tavern, two general stores and residences. A single church features shrines to all six of the Gods, but the local priest is of the Seas.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #94
April 4th, 2023
Location: North (Carastan) bank of the Alavai River between Taosport and Canalhead
Population (approx.): 340
Brief: To most, Filumville is a small sleepy village along the Alavai River which history has left behind on its inexorable march forward. Filumville is still ruled by the Viscount of Filum, whose lineage extends back into the heyday of the Ta’arnan Empire. Despite the nature of the local master, the village is nominally aligned with the City-State of Carasta and features stores and businesses of numerous Guilds. This is because several generations ago, when Taodeas was eying a western expansion into the Narrows, Carasta dissuaded them from the attempt and thus the House of Filum owed the Guild Collegium. In return, similarly to the “blinds” of Noldrune, Filumville hosts a small group of Mercenary Guild spies acting as the current Viscount’s servants and advisors. The agents gather intelligence on activities to the west, among other Ta’arnans, and south, from Taodeas and further into the Wastelands.
Geography: Filumville is a typical riverside village of businesses, shops, and residences surrounding a central Village Hall, where the Viscount conducts his daily business. The Filums live just outside of town in a three-story manor house surrounded by ivy-covered brick walls. The Viscount claims and his guards protect farms and ranches up to a half day’s walk from Filumville.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #95
April 5th, 2023
Name: The AEther Wheel
Location: In the woods midway between Spiritminster and Arrowwick on the North Coast Highway (NCH) of Carasta.
Population (approx.): 40-80 (varies with the projects underway)
Brief: As might be expected, Guilds are rife with politics. Sometimes the Arcane Guild, given their nature and potential power, is the worst of all. This is especially true with respect to access to the Carasta Cascade, the Ley Line that descends through the city into the ocean beyond. Several years ago, a small band of magicians, of limited access due to stature, skill or past interactions within the Guild, departed Carasta with an idea that some labelled madness. Over a day’s travel west, where the Ley Line dips south of Spiritminster and crosses NCH, the covenant purchased a stretch of forest and began to build a tall structure of wood and stone vaguely resembling a windmill. When completed, they plan to install magicked materials in the hope they can guide or conduct a small portion of the AEther flowing overhead down toward their own, soon to be built, magical laboratory. At present time, oddsmakers of the Gaming Guild, are giving 3:1 odds that the covenant blows itself up and 30:1 odds that they take the coast with them. The Arcane Guild carefully watches the construction rise into the sky but is of a mixed collective mind what to do about the situation.
Geography: The AEther Wheel is being constructed in the forests west of the North Coast Highway about midway between Spiritminster and Arrowwick. The site features an old farmhouse that has been renovated into the home of the convenant. Several workshops have been constructed nearby. A hundred yards away, in the center of a cleared circle, hired carpenters and stone masons slowly assemble the tall windmill like structure using construction methods that avoid both metal and magic. The magicians only want specialized magic-senstive materials to be eventually added to the vanes of the Wheel and conduits in the central tower to move the AEther according to their whims and plans.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #96
April 6th, 2023
Location: A day’s travel north of Driftwood Cove on the North Coast Highway (NCH)
Population (approx.): 150 (local) and 100-200 (camps along the new west road)
Brief: Since the failure of the mines in the Gold Mountains west of Orvusiv, the Miner’s Guild (and associated Dwarven Clans) have been itching to return to the Spine of Norgorfel in search of the next great motherlode. The past five years scouts and spelunkers of the Guild have been searching and sampling an oblong mesa, several miles long, north of Orvusiv. Tested samples have shown promising amounts of high-grade ore, enough that the Guild has mounted an expedition to the site. The caravansary on the NCH has been expanded into a base camp, nicknamed Minehead. Miners and laborers hired from the Traveller’s Guild have been collaborating to build a road to the mesa. A Mercenary Company with underground and mountaineering experience guards the road and the scouting camp on the mesa versus the monsters sure to creep down out of the slopes above. Once the road and mesa camp are complete, the latter will be named Minehead as is tradition and the caravansary might evolve into a trading post or settlement of some size.
Geography: Minehead is about 25 miles north of Driftwood Cove (#93) on the NCH. In the year since the Miner’s Guild began the expedition, the caravansary has been surrounded by a sea of tents, travel wagons and makeshift buildings. Food carts and tinker’s wagons appeared to serve the workers followed eventually by less savory visitors (thieves and the like). Minehead can be quite rowdy at times, causing passing caravans to either stay outside of the site or skip camping entirely. The Innkeeper’s Guild weathers the complaints from the caravansary mistress and looks forward to when the miners move westward, and they can begin the business of town-building.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #97
April 7th, 2023
Name: The Fishers’ Net of Carasta
Population (approx.): 120 (staff and resident Fishing Coop representatives)
Brief: The Fishing Guild of Carasta has a long and storied history of serving the people of the region since the early days of the Ta’arnan Empire. As fish is an important food source of the region, the Guild survived the turmoil of Ta’arna’s fall relatively intact. The Guild Elders divided the Guild into four “Nets” being groups of fleets (groups of vessels with a single owner) and cooperatives (groups of vessels with many owners) that serve one of the City-States. The Net of Carasta is headquartered in the fishing village of Branhurst. Each year the leaders of the fleets and cooperatives gather at the Net to discuss dividing the waters of Staplefish Bay between the Fishers. They also negotiate fees and allocations of their catch with the Guild Collegium representative from Carasta.
Geography: Centuries ago, the combined fishing fleets of the time gathered to hook, defeat and drag ashore some now-nameless leviathan of the deep. The creature’s huge and durable rib cage is now the barrel vault structure of the Fisher’s Net rising above Branhurst. The Guild Hall, and associated smaller adjoining buildings, dominate the northside of the village, against the docks and Staplefish Bay.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #98
April 8th, 2023
Name: Woodland Path
Location: A day’s travel south of Arrowwick
Population (approx.): 340
Brief: Woodland Path is a small village surrounded by an unnamed wood. It is home to a collaborative effort between the Logging and Carpenter’s Guilds and Druids of Nature aspects of the Six Gods. The guild members and spell casters work together to experiment on magical methods to enhance quantity and quality of timber without overworking or corrupting the land. The surrounding woods, which were originally relatively sparse, are divided into sections marked by signs and fences separating timber types and experiments underway. The quiet of the village has recently been interrupted by the interest in the guarded caravans travelling from the Dwarven deep mines (#23) to the coast. The rumors of riches within the armored wagons brings unsavory characters to prowl the road at night and haunt the taverns in the daytime.
Geography: The land south of the Aether Wheel (#95) and Arrowwick, is covered by woodlands for about 2 days travel before ending at the rough terrain of the central Narrows. Woodland Path sits in the center of the trees on the road of the same name. Woodland Path originally ended at the village but was extended further south as the Dwarven mining of the rifts expanded. The village features typical trappings as well as several chapels, a Guild house, workshops and four greenhouses.