Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States - Week 20
Compiling week 20 of the project, comprised of an additional 7sites, this week site-adjacent/related settlements of the Wastelands as shown below.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #134
May 14th, 2023
Name: Feast or Folly
Location: Western Wastelands on outskirts of Natroscha.
Population (approx.): 350
Brief: After the population of Natroscha scattered in the face of the destructive appearance of Hedron Assembly (#134), locals returned to the suburbs of the ruined city. Through sometimes deadly trial and error, scavengers and scroungers discovered there was a distance, from the center of Natroscha, beyond which the Hedrons would not immediately awaken, seek and destroy. Flags, banners and swaths of bright paint and chalk mark the edge of a safe zone. On the northwest side of this zone, a small village, nicknamed “Feast or Folly” was founded by locals to support foolish explorers with gear and supplies and eagerly wager on their success or failure. Recently an enterprising group of Dwarves with magical capabilities have had some success digging a tunnel underneath the city and breaching into cellars and vaults.
Geography: Feast or Folly is a small village on the northwest side of the Natroscha safe zone. It exists mainly to supply those headed into the ruins and celebrate those who survive and return. The village features a large multi-story Inn, a tenement for long-term residents, a gambling hall, two merchants, a pawnshop (dealing in antiquities, tools and minor magics), a tinker and a toolsmith. Feast or Folly is ruled by a council of the property owners of the village and a self-appointed representative of the local farms and ranches that supply most of the food to the inhabitants.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #135
May 15th, 2023
Name: City of Pools
Location: Coast of Taop Bay within the Church-State of Earth and Water
Population (approx.): 4,100
Brief: Afal Stream begins at a natural spring in the Afale Maug hills and winds its way northwest to Taop Bay. The City of Pools, home to the Cathedrals of the Seas, was built astride the stream during the time of the Ta’arnan Empire. The waters of the stream have been detoured and routed through channels and navigable canals into all manner of decorative and creative pools of varying shapes and sizes, some mostly natural and others highly artificial, hence the city’s name. The City of Pools is one of the twin capitals of the Church-State and is dedicated to Vai in all their watery forms. The allied Churches bring together wildly different aspects; liquid and solid, moving and stationary, and more, into a currently cohesive nation.
Geography: The City of Pools is located where the Afal Stream enters Taop Bay. Once a marshy delta, the waters have been drained, channeled and re-routed over the years creating solid islands and outcroppings where the buildings of the city rise over and around the canals and channels holding the revered water. At the center is the great sea blue and mother of pearl colored Cathedral of the Seas surrounded by libraries, residences, offices and halls of the Church-State. Businesses and homes of all sizes cover the adjacent dry land, accessible by numerous bridges and a fleet of long narrow boats, either rowed, towed or pushed by poles. Along the bay a series of breakwaters and dikes protect the City of Pools from storms and storm surges pushing into the bay from the Arvach Ocean to the west.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #136
May 16th, 2023
Name: Monastery of the Passage
Location: In the Ulu Maug roughly halfway between the Citadel of the Five Passages of Night and the Heliostat Citadel
Population (approx.): 180
Brief: Over the course of time on Aenwyld, worship of the Six has ebbed and flowed, the aspects worshipped changing in concept and appearance to their faithful (thus these composite deities are sometimes referred to as “masks”). At the height of the Ta’arnan Empire, as the Six turned on each other, one splinter church arose that adhered to both Light or Day and Darkness or Night as a single circular whole, named the Passage. Their priests and holy warriors raided, with success, both the Citadel of the Five Passages of Night (#34) and the Heliostat Citadel (#69) to show them the errors of their divided worship. “The two must be one,” their battle cry. As the Empire collapsed and Ta’arna became the Wastelands, the two sites declined in power, thus, with their mission complete, the Monastery shrank as well as people passed on or wandered away. A small number of the faithful remain to maintain the Passage and spy upon the remnants at either citadel.
Geography: The Monastery of the Passage is built upon a mesa in the center of the Ulu Maug range, just a bit southwest of the Enshrouding Mists (#32). A curtain wall, built about the edge of the mesa, encloses the entire site which is mostly abandoned. The central temple and adjacent dormitories are still occupied. Brothers and sisters tend small fields and gardens, as well as herd goats and sheep in the hills, and hunt deer and predators in the higher elevations. Travelers of any church (but Light or Dark) or no affiliation are welcome but are rarely encountered.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #137
May 17th, 2023
Name: Sauville also known as the Joinery
Location: Along the Saut River east of the Ulu Maug range
Population (approx.): 185 (increases to 300-400 around “Joining Day”)
Brief: Sauville was a mundane small farming village hewing close to the Saut River and its steady flow of life-giving water. Irrigation canals and waterwheels pull from the river and deliver to fields and paddies. The locals quietly worshipped earth and water as history and the wars of Ta’arna passed them by, until recently, when descendants of survivors of a past battle took up residence in Sauville’s sole inn. To the west, the newcomers said, was a place where their “god” (see One Part in Sixty (#100)) once stood and would do so again. The locals thought them crazy but paid them no heed as their coin was good. Each year others arrived and with the descendants they trekked to the west for several days and each year they later returned disappointed. For the locals, life went on. For the newcomers, they prayed, researched and dispatched adventurers and explorers hither and yon, on quests for some mysterious single object required to complete their “god.” (Unbeknownst to the Joiners, the Keepers know exactly where the 60th piece can be found and will do all they can to prevent its discovery, for the Keepers, years ago, helped disassemble and bind the KERYX construct to the site and know what it is capable of.)
Geography: Sauville sits on the Saut River about 30 miles north of the source the Inviolate Spring at Saut Oasis (#31). It is a loosely connected swath of farms along the water, centered about a single Inn, a mill on the river, a store and a small chapel. The terrain is criss-crossed with narrow canals and pipes, the flow of water aided by wind-powered wheels and the currents of the Saut. Several years ago, the newcomers bought a farm on the outside of the village, nicknamed the “Joinery,” and moved out of the Inn (to the keeper’s initial dismay). They’ve expanded it to house visiting fellow Joiners and converted one of the barns into a library and workshop.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #138
May 18th, 2023
Location: Eastern fringe of the Mu Onno desert, west of Stormwatch
Population (approx.): 330
Brief: Firewatch is an expansion of the Guild activities in the Wastelands started years ago at the port of Stormwatch (#65). The small village, on habitable land near the edge of the desert, hosts a small chantry of the Arcane Guild. The magicians, with their companions and guards, undertake expeditions to the unusual phenomena of the region. The first site of interest being the Drifts of the Flame Serpent (#35) in the center of the Mu Onno, hence the name of the village. Other recently catalogued points include the Inviolate Spring (#31) and keeping an eye on the Joiner activity west of Sauville (#100 and #137). The protective presence of the spellusers has attracted locals, who’ve built farms and small businesses in and about Firewatch. The chantry pays them no heed unless they appear to be interfering with Guild business. (For example, two Joiner spies were sent packing several years ago.)
Geography: Firewatch is a small village in the verdant lands east of the Mu Onno desert. The Traveller’s Guild broke the trail to the site and maintain a road east to Stormwatch. Firewatch is centered about the Guild Chantry which is comprised of a seven-story tower, surrounded by out buildings and residences, enclosed in a magicked stone wall. The Chantry is supplied by a well dug by the magicians, who grudgingly created a second one, outside the Chantry walls, in the center of the growing village. A member of the Innkeeper’s Guild has established an Inn next door, then a Merchant’s Guild general store opened opposite the inn. The square about the public well hosts a market almost every day.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #139
May 19th, 2023
Name: Pike’s Point
Location: Western coast of the Wastelands on the Arvach Ocean
Population (approx.): 450
Brief: Centuries ago, as the Ta’arnan Empire rose in the region, or perhaps before the Ta’arnans when two other adversaries contended for this land, a great battle raged off the coast of the Wastelands. During this battle, a warship of gigantic proportions was deliberately or accidentally driven aground dead center of a nearby naval base. The battle barge buried itself half its length through stone and earth, shattering piers and wharves, collapsing walls and a keep. It apparently could not be removed and remains embedded in the remains of the docks to this day. Over the years to follow, the hulk was stripped of removeable materials and abandoned. Then it was discovered by locals, led by a person named Pike, who found the indestructible hull and intact decks, staircases, walls and doors created a perfect place to establish a new community. Pike’s Point, as it is known, exists almost entirely within the hull of the warship, except for surrounding fields, buildings for crafting too hazardous or pungent for enclosed spaces, and a small flotilla of fishing vessels and punts tied to the hull and remains of the docks. The population is mostly human, descendants of Pike’s clan, but includes any and all Kin who have happened on the village.
Geography: Pike’s Point sits on the edge of the Wastelands on the Arvach Ocean, visible from the water and beaches, but concealed from view by a dense forest. The ancient vessel is about 200 meters long, 40 meters at its widest and rises six stories above the water and beach. A wooden lighthouse rises another two stories on the stern, built about the aftmost mast. The top deck features a wooden great hall, with greenhouses on either side. Outbuildings fan out on top of the ruins of the ancient naval base. Fields fill clearings either natural or Kin-made in the forest.
Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #140
May 20th, 2023
Name: City of Stones
Location: Hills near Taop Bay within the Church-State of Earth and Water
Population (approx.): 3,900
Brief: Twin sister of the City of Pools (#135) and co-capital of the Church-State of Earth and Water, the City of Stones was built upon a rocky rise at the base of the eastern peninsula of the nation. Similarly decorative to its brethren, the city features all manner of menhirs and monoliths raised about the streets, gardens of rock, stone and sand, and mostly stone buildings of intricate coloring and design, all to celebration the variety and beauty of the Earth. The City of Stones celebrates Pai, God of Earth, as they manifest across the world in all their forms. The two capitals are connected by a wide stone two lane highway with a raised arch viaduct running down the center, brings rainfall from the City of Stones to the City of Pools.
Geography: The City of Stones is located on a rocky hillside east of the Afal Stream and its sister city, at the base of a peninsula being the southern border between the Arvach Ocean and Taop Bay. The stones of the hill have been raised or moved to create avenues and foundations for the buildings. A grand citadel of basalt rises in the center hosting the Cathedral of Pai, church residences and the City’s government. Concentric rings of low walls circle about the hillside, gaps for gates to structures and stairs and ramps leading upon and down from level to level. The outermost orbit features huge monoliths on each side of the four main city gates at the points of the compass. Those stones are enchanted and in times of danger animate into 20-meter-tall elementals to defend the city. Smaller menhir guard doorways to all buildings and locations of note.