Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 19
Compiling week 19 of the project, comprised of an additional 7sites, this week site-adjacent/related settlements of the City-State of Carasta and the Narrows as shown below.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #127
May 7th, 2023
Location: West coast of Norgorfel north of the Iron Wall Territories
Population (approx.): unknown
Brief: Sentinel is the southernmost fortification of an empire unknown to most in the Narrows or Carasta. Records of the Ta’arnan Empire indicate the Legions sighted fortifications and inhabitants north of the Uam River, but no detailed scouting was conducted before the advance halted with the beginning of Ta’arna’s collapse. Maps of the Arcane Guild, accessible in Carasta with the applicable credentials and memberships, indicate a branch of the Gold Mountains Ley Line passes over the site on its course to the west. Records of the Wayfinders, inaccessible to all but the Wayfinders themselves, indicate Sentinel includes some sort of apparatus on a greatly elevated tower that can tap the energies of the Ley Line much like those in Carasta and the Aether Wheel (#95) nearby.
Geography: Sentinel is a small port dominated by a large fortification with a singularly tall tower (several hundred meters at least) at the center and surrounded by rings of walls of varying heights enclosing subtending structures likely businesses, military structures, residences and barracks. The exterior faces of walls and buildings are of a pale perhaps white color, offset by red tiled roofs on top of buildings, porches, conical towers and dormers. Sentinel was constructed centuries ago in response to the growth of the Ta’arnan Empire. The builders deemed the Legions to be a sufficient threat to invest notable resources in the site. Sentinel continues to operate and perhaps now evaluates the City-State of Carasta.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #128
May 8th, 2023
Name: County of the Setting Sun
Location: Southwest coast of Forgotten Ta’arna
Population (approx.): 50,000
Brief: As the Ta’arnan Empire lost its focus due to the turmoil and factional conflicts in the great cities and provinces to the south, the border state governors were left trying to control increasingly aggressive native populations with diminishing resources. Hamsen Eiser, Governor of the Narrows, and his bonded legion, the Rising Sun, elected to withdraw from Carasta, in the face of effective Guild opposition, to the southwest coast of the Narrows where Governor Eiser held several manors and several thousand square miles of land. The Legion reinforced the manor homes and established a rough border about a day’s travel inland from the coast. With their westward view, they renamed themselves the Setting Sun Legion, the land eventually adopting the same name. Descendents of Eiser’s family rule the County to this day, guarded by a still potent force of Legionnaires of about 12 Centuries (give or take a hundred) and supporting troops. The County of the Setting Sun has cordial relations with Carasta, Taodeas and the Elves of Feystone Woods. They keep a wary eye on the surrounding feudal remnants like the Gatherer (#28).
Geography: The County of the Settling Sun covers about 2,500 to 3,000 square miles of the southwest coast of the Narrows. The bulk of its population lives in a half-dozen coastal settlements with average or better anchorages. The rest is spread among the small thorps, farms and ranches of the inland territory. Stone towers, flying a flag of a red sun setting into a blue sea on a white background, mark the extent of the County’s control. Visitors, usually only present to trade, are carefully watched and tolerated. Immigrants are rarely accepted unless they bring resources or skills lacking in the population.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #129
May 9th, 2023
Name: North Feywatch
Location: Grove of trees north of the Feystone Woods
Population (approx.): 250
Brief: The Elves of the Feystone Woods, after first contact with Kin intent on conquest (pre-dating the Ta’arnan Empire by millenia), established a perimeter of borderforts (aka “Watches”) about their lands. North Feywatch is, as one might guess from the name, the northernmost of the Watches, keeping an eye on the lands between the western ocean and the Gold Mountains. At the current time, the Elves of the Watch and the Firbolg of Tenmala (#57) collaborate to watch the Ta’arnan remnants of the Iron Wall Territories (#61) and the few inhabitants of the hills in between. The Elves are aware of the nation that the Sentinel (#127) represents but do not consider them a threat at this time.
Geography: Feystone Watch is typical of Elven Watches, consisting of a single great tree magically expanded and reinforced, with platforms at varying heights providing residences, meeting rooms, storage and at the top, lookouts across the lands to the north much like the crow’s nests of ships. The Watch garrison is comprised of the usual complement of ranger/scouts, archers and warriors, druids and seers, plus healers and crafters. They are usually of one or two extended Elven families bringing both positives (years of training together, instinctual knowledge of reactions and seamless teamwork) and negatives (tendencies to overprotectiveness and subject to long-standing feuds).
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #130
May 10th, 2023
Name: Barger’s Rest
Location: On the Noldrune River east of Port Lostfort
Population (approx.): 175
Brief: The original concept of Barger’s Rest was much like the Travellers Guild caravansaries on the local highways but to be established on waterways by the Sailors Guild. The Arquen family, sailors who lost their small merchant vessel to a storm on Staplefish Bay, invested in a houseboat and parked it on the Noldrune River. They offered a place for barge polers to rest before the final trip to Port Lostfort, a place for horse-drawn barges to stable, tend to or switch horses, a place to stop when the barge traffic to the coast was too dense, or weather on the river leading to the bay was inclement, and more recently, a place for merchants or others to stop and offload items which they’d rather move to coast by “different” (quiet or secret) means. The concept has not caught on elsewhere but on the Noldrune, Barger’s Rest has been somewhat successful.
Geography: Barger’s Rest sits on the Noldrune River east of Port Lostfort where the river turns south and inland towards Lake Loloto Pogisa. A narrow spit of land divides a channel from the main flow of the river. Now the Arquens own four houseboats, parked end to end, moored on the channel side of the island. Across the channel, on dry land, the family has built a stables, several warehouses and a small 2 story Inn with a popular ground floor tavern (The River Pole). Visiting barges park in the channel and sometimes on the river proper when river traffic is at its peak.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #131
May 11th, 2023
Name: Staplefish Overlook
Location: West coast of Staplefish Bay where the mountains meet the ocean
Population (approx.): 1,750
Brief: The North Coast Highway (NCH) threads a path between the Gold Mountains and Staplefish Bay. At one point, however, the builders of the road were forced to go through the tall cliffs overlooking the water. As they dug through the stone and earth, the builders discovered a series of caverns, several of which featured wide openings overlooking the bay below. After connecting about 8 miles of caverns, the tunnellers reached the other side of the cliffs. Locals, finding some of the caves to be relatively dry and sheltered from the weather of the bay and mountains, founded small settlements therein. The collection of buildings eventually became one long interconnected town known as Staplefish Overlook.
Geography: Staplefish Overlook can be found on the NCH north of Minehead (#96). The five largest groups of buildings can be found, from south to north, in the Painted Stone, Whistling Tube, Sunrise View, Silent Pond and Mossy Terrace caverns. The Town Hall, the largest Inn and Churches to Earth and Water can be found in Sunrise View. The population includes a high percentage of Dwarves who like to explore the natural cave network further west under the Spine of Norgorfel. Staplefish Overlook thus benefits from a brisk trade in ore, gems and relics claimed from the underdark. Stories of underearth exploits attract adventurers as well.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #132
May 12th, 2023
Name: Tulagan (“Town of Three Heights”)
Location: Southern narrows along Taop Bay
Population (approx.): 890 (between all levels and surrounds)
Brief: At the height of the Ta’arnan Empire, Tulagan was considered one of the most beautiful towns in the region if not the empire. Built upon three levels, all the buildings, roads and exterior staircases were of matching light sun yellow stone (quarried locally but enchanted for color and durability) with tile roofs of complementary blue-gray slate. The temple of the Sun and Sky, at the third height, was notable and influential at its peak. As the Empire fell into decay so did Tulagan, the congregation and population diminishing to current levels. The community and local surroundings are ruled by the Viscount Priest and their Clerical Elders, protected by a few remaining Paladins and Warrior-Priests. Tulagan exists as a neutral Church-State carefully negotiating or paying for peaceful relations with surrounding groups such as Reaver’s Rock (#22), the Gatherer (#28) and the County of the Setting Sun (#128).
Geography: Tulagan was built on the west coast of Taop Bay. The founders found a prominent stone hill on a cliffside overlooking the bay below. The town was started at the base of the hill (the “second height”). Staircases were carved up the slopes of the hill to the summit (the “third height’), where the church rose into the sky, and down the cliffs to the seaside (the “first height”), where docks and wharves served fisherfolk and merchanters (protected by the naval forces to the east and ports elsewhere). Tulagan was designed with uniform coloring (rising sun walls and sky-blue-gray tiles) in celebration of their patron Gods. A main avenue threads along the cliffside, continuing west and east along the coast to other local settlements. Currently about 2/3rds of the town’s structures are empty but well maintained as the populace continues to appreciate and maintain Tulagan’s beauty.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #133
May 13th , 2023
Name: Loch’s End
Location: Where the runoff from Loch Pitoloal enters Taop Bay
Population (approx.): 293
Brief: The north coast of Taop Bay features over a half a dozen coves and inlets of varying shapes and sizes, home to a similar number of small fishing villages. Loch’s End is one of those unremarkable places that have come and gone over the past centuries but for two things. The village was founded where the runoff from Loch Pitoloal (#59) carved a path through the hills to the bay and it is the most recent conquest of the “Gatherer” Baron Peregrine (#28) in his continuing attempts to unite the scattered fragments of Lost Ta’arna. Pitoloal Stream, as the runoff is named, does not appear to have the same strange qualities as the depths of the Loch, so fishing on the inlet is fair and can sustain the populace when the weather on Taop Bay is too harsh to risk passing through channel between the headlands to the south.
Geography: Loch’s End has been inhabited irregularly for about sixteen centuries. The tallest structure is a three-story stone tower that has variously been a keep, a church, an inn and is currently home to the Bentleys, largest clan of the village. With much fanfare, Baron Peregrin visited Loch’s End a year ago and made Ellendil Bentley, scion of the clan, a landed Damosel and Lady Mayor of Loch’s End. In turn the Bentleys swore fealty to the Baron. Workers, funded by the Baron, have recently arrived in town to repair and expand the docks. Rumor suggests the Baron is considering establishing his own naval force to compete with the Taodeans and the buccaneers of Reaver’s Rock (#22). The other nearby villages of the bay’s north coast are receiving similar upgrades, like Loch’s End.