Sunday, December 17, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 50

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 50

Compiling week 50 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive into people of interest - warriors, of all manner of Kin, occupation and disposition, from the Wastelands:


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #344 

December 11th, 2023 

  • Number: 344 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Warriors of the Wastelands – Part 1 

  • Location: The Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): Varies but likely 1. 

  • Brief: Five centuries the founding of the City-State of Carasta by the Guild Collegium signaled the beginning of the end of the Ta’arnan Empire. It was swiftly followed by the retreat of the Legions and the formation of Noldrune, Ceannar and finally Taodeas. Scattered forces attempted, over the following years, to retake the north but each succeeding attempt was weaker than the one before it. The dreams of empire building faded, and thoughts of reality and recovery came to the fore. In the present day, the Wastelands are a region in recovery with over a third of the land now part of small new City-States, existing Clan or Tribal holdings, or areas controlled by external forces (such as the Guilds) or internal forces of unknown origin (the Tinker King). 

  • In between these holdings, the Wastelands remains true to its name. Areas of abandoned civilization full of ruins and stretches of bare land ravaged by monsters or savaged by essence storms spawned by concentrated use of magics in rituals or battle centuries ago. Outside the patrolled areas of the newly formed City-States, travelers walk the wilderness. These Kin might be hunting, wandering, adventuring, questing or simply on the run, be them heroes or villains, the Wastelands are simply a means to get to a different destination for few calls it home. 

  • Geography: The largest area of wilderness (A) is the land between the Afale Maug to the west and the Ulu Maug to the east, featuring the dangers of the Rolling Green (#101) and Ulono Atu – City of Six Curses (#204). The west coast along the Arvach Ocean (B), east of the lands of the Tinker King (#174) features the debris-strewn L ost Coast (#64). A narrow band of the Ulu Maug  (C) south of Clan Ironback (#67) and north of the Severed Churches (#172) remains untamed. And in the northeast corner of Taodeas (D), most avoid the wild lands of the north-eastern Mu Ono Desert east of the lands of the Saut Tribe (#161), southwest of the Dismal Marsh (#274) and west of Guild Watch (#170). 

  • Next Article: Over the course of this week, we’ll present some of the notable people that one might encounter while wandering about the Wastelands. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #345 

December 12th, 2023 

  • Number: 345 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Warriors of the Wastelands – Part 2 

  • Location: The Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 47 (The High Parliament of the Order of the Loyal Owl) 

  • Brief: In the new regional order of the four City-States, the Church –State of Earth and Water trades mostly with the ports of Taodeas along the Arvach Ocean and across the Matui River. But there are needs at times for travelers to take the old inland roads between the Afale Maug and Lanu Maug hills toward the central plains of the Wastelands and then turn northeast to make haste toward the areas protected by the Border Wardens of Taodeas. Recently though stories have reached both the villages of the Church-State and southern Taodeas that if one stumbles into trouble but is pure of heart and purpose, they have been rescued by swift owl-like humanoids striking from the nearby trees with the speed of a diving hawk. The rescues are authentic, but the descriptions are deliberately inaccurate as the monks of the Order of the Loyal Owl are disguised when they strike with blinding speed and accuracy. 

  • Malna Greatfinger, 137, female Halfling, is the Grandmistress of the Order of the Loyal Owl. She is pint-sized and limber. Her hair is sandy brown, and her blue-green eyes are expressive. Malna wears practical clothing consisting of her gi and a belt that holds several small daggers. The gi has a sizable snowy owl on the back. She is a quiet and peaceful individual. Her knowledge of martial arts is extensive, but she only believes in using it for defense. 

  • Malna has been part of the Order of the Owl for seventy-five years. She discovered the Order during a difficult time in her life. Her husband left her for another woman, a Human of all things. Her search brought her to the Order, and her life began anew. Now she is a teacher for six months of the year. During the other months, Malna walks through the region, protects the locals and looks for recruits.  

  • Malna lives in a plain room in the monastery. She loves to cook and fix meals for everyone several times a week. Her best friend is a fellow monk, Freda Dreamdrifter, 45, female Human. The two of them talk about food and katas frequently. After her first marriage dissolved, Malna swore off romantic attachments and prefers to devote herself to her martial arts studies. 

  • Malna’s warriors are preternaturally agile, being able to run along the thinnest of branches and silently leap from tree to tree. Their ancient teachings instill great wisdom so that the quiet and stealthy observers, like their namesake Owls, can watch distant travelers and determine their fate as required. 

  • Geography: The southernmost end of the Lanu Maug is covered in forest stretching into the gaps between the hills, becoming sparse as the woods near the prairie home of the Rolling Green (#101). An old road threads across the land (northern part of area (A)) connecting the Church-State (#29) to the border of Taodeas (#18 and #89) with spurs headed south avoiding either side of the dangerous grasslands (central and southern parts of area (A)). The monastery of the Order can be found at the top of a sheer stone spire surrounded by dense climax forest. There are no stairs to the top as recruits, if worthy, must reach the top either by climbing wood or scaling stone. The monks do have a basket they can lower by cable for supplies or to assist the injured. At the top is a circular cluster of buildings, armored shutters facing outwards and levels of balconies facing inwards, enclosing an open central park with a natural spring. The monks maintain gardens on the balconies, roofs and underground, foraging and hunting the forest as needed. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #346 

December 13th, 2023 

  • Number: 346 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Warriors of the Wastelands – Part 3 

  • Location: The Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 312 (Eastworks Portal) 

  • Brief: For centuries, the Dwarves of Clan Ironback have patrolled the surface and the underground of over 3,000 square miles of the northern Ulu Maug range beginning just south of the Taodeas capital of Blackstone Fortress. The collapse of the Ta’arnan Empire had little impact to the underdark, for the Legions and other combatants rarely ventured underground, but wide areas of the surface were damaged or corrupted by the numerous engagements saturating the region with battle magics during the fray and frequently leaving uncontrolled summoned entities (devils, elementals and undead) wandering the scene afterwards. The Dwarven Canton created units of above ground troops suited for the relatively wide-open spaces of the sparsely forested hills to their south. They patrolled to protect travelers passing from one side of Ulu Maug to the other. Units, never found underground, included air vehicles, mounted troops on animals and clockworks and well-suited for area (as open spaces minimize potential collateral damage) the famed berserkers of the Frenzy Company, headquartered at Eastworks Portal. 

  • Murdir Flintstone, 87, male Dwarf, is a Frenzy Company berserker from Clan Ironback. He is trim and dextrous. His hair is golden brown, and his eyes are the colors of acorns. He wears leather armor dyed the color of sand and scrub to blend into the wastelands. Murdir wields a massive Greataxe that is taller than he is. Murdir is friendly, impulsive, and quick to anger. He has learned to control his anger with a command word. 

  • Murdir's father was a berserker and prepared his son for the challenging training. Besides learning how to use the Greataxe, Murdir learned to use a crossbow and sword. Clan Ironback has a small company of berserkers who practice together frequently. After passing vigorous trials, Murdir accepted a position in the group and now leads a squad of five berserker dwarves in essential surface missions. 

  • Murdir is happily married to Naldora, 86, female Dwarf. They have three children: Torlin, boy 10, Karmin, girl eight, and baby boy Bardek. The family lives in a small cottage in the surface village at the Eastworks Portal. Naldora sells canned fruits and vegetables from the garden they have in their backyard. Murdir is best friends with Thorback Lohack, 90, male Dwarf. They go to the local tavern a few times weekly to have a beer or two. 

  • Geography: The Eastworks Portal marks the southeast corner of Ironback Canton. A trail crosses the Ulu Maug just south of the Portal’s surface village and continues toward the Danthas River to the east, eventually reaching Danthas Crossings (#70) and points further southeast. Eastworks Portal consists of a large keep, the “portal” to the underground tunnel network of the Dwarves. On a rise behind the keep is a small surface village enclosed by a crenelated curtain wall connected to the keep. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #347 

December 14th, 2023 

  • Number: 347 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Warriors of the Wastelands – Part 4 

  • Location: The Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 103 (Parcent within the Enshrouding Mists) 

  • Brief: Like the Dwarves of Clan Ironback, Inari Limid protector of the Hidden Thorps within the circle of her Enshrouding Mists, keeps a watchful on the uncontrolled areas of the Wastelands, particular between their realm and the Canton to the northwest. The wizard-seer has sought, since forming their protectorate, guardians who are particularly in touch with the flora and fauna of their area of Aenwyld. Scrying the region, they learned of a unique colony (or perhap copse was a better word) of flora taking humanoid form, known as Wilden, living with the Wosen of Taodeas to the northeast. Inari Limid translocated to Gate-in-iron, introduced themselves to the Wosen and Wilden, eventually convincing a branch of the latter to accompany them to the Hidden Thorps to serve as Borden Wardens for the concealed villages. 

  • Tinirrah (Tini), 45, female Wilden (a Fey of Living Wood), is a beastmaster from Cavehome. She is tall and has a tan complexion. Her eyes are metal black, and her hair is dark brown and jaggedy. She chooses to wear light leather armor but forgoes a helmet. Her weapon of choice is a shepherd's crook that hits like a staff. Tini has three animals bound to her: an eagle named Cloud, a wolf named Avril, and a lizard named Mocha. She also has a unique ability to speak telepathically with all animals. 

  • Tini grew in the forest of Cavehome and lived around animals throughout her early teens. One day, after a long hike, Tini had trouble accidentally rooting on a group of fire ants. To her surprise, Avril telepathically spoke to her and told her about some natural plants that would help with the sting. Not long after that, Cloud appeared, and then later Mocha. Now, her branch companions help Tini protect the Hidden Thorps of Cloudshire. 

  • Tini is married to Burringar (Burr), 48, male Wilden, who is a Ranger. The two of them live in a small house near Parcent. Tini and Burr are childless. Instead, they have dedicated themselves to helping young orphans who live nearby. Tini's best friend is Zaroda, 45, female Wilden. The two love to take walks through the forest and communicate with other plants. 

  • Geography: The Wilden branch relocated from woods of the Wosen Cavehome (#161) via Gate-in-Iron (#126) to the small village of Parcent on the northwest frontier of the Enshouding Mists (#32 and #171). Parcent is a typical small settlement surrounded by an earthen rampant topped with stakes from fallen or culled trees (in deference to the Wilden). A cluster of sod or thatch-topped cottages surround a central communal hall. The forests of the Ulu Maug stretch through the mists into parts of Inari Limid’s realm, perfectly suited to the nature and skills of the Wilden Wardens. They’ve explored most of the hills beyond the mists, even encountering the monks of the Monastery of the Passage (#136).  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #348 

December 15th, 2023 

  • Number: 348 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Warriors of the Wastelands – Part 5 

  • Location: The Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 1472 (Lascha on the northern border of New Zetroscha) 

  • Brief: The nascent “Coastal-State” of New Zetroscha (the founders attempting to dispose of any association with the failed Church-State of the Ta’arnan Empire) works to define and hold the notional borders around them. Marshall Apurva Pike-MacNeill, leader of the Free Riders of Zetroscha and effectively the military commander of New Zetroscha, has sought out the best fighters and riders to form the core of Free Riders brigades in the villages and towns slowly coming under the banner of the new country. She has created two types of brigades, the scouting brigades who handle patrolling the borders and protecting the roads, and the defense brigades stationed in each recognized village or town of sufficient size to warrant a full-time military presence. The borders are threatened by things both old (such as creatures from the Lost Coast and the Hedron Assembly of Ruins of Natroscha) and new (the raiders of the Tinker King and other threats from borderlands to the south. The Marshall’s commanders are rugged fighters unafraid of the dangers that come with nation-building and protecting the innocent. 

  • Sir Edgard (Ed) Holbire, 31, male Human, is a Cavalier for the port town of Lascha. He is rangy and barrel-chested. His jet-black hair is worn short in a buzz cut. His hazel eyes are just beneath raised eyebrows. Ed wears hose and a quality jerkin most days, but he wears full plate on training days. His personal icon is a hawk diving to pick up a broadsword. His tabard sports a defense tower. Ed likes to use a broadsword but is skilled with a lance and shield. 

  • Ed commands the Lascha Free Riders defense brigade. He oversees his cavalry cohort and drills his soldiers daily except on religious holidays. He practices weekly with the lance and has won several tournaments. Ed is known for being a bit aloof, but get him talking about tournaments, and he can discuss them at length. 

  • Ed is courting Idina Flinthawk, 27, female Human. She is a seamstress of young ladies' ball gowns. Ed is just about ready to propose but is looking for a sign from Idina that she is prepared to commit. He owns a manor home as befits his station, on a hill near Lascha but is rarely home. Ed's best friend is Jefferey Elfshadow, 28, male Human. The two of them are expert equestrians and go riding together most mornings. 

  • Geography: The port town of Lascha is on the currently defined northeast border of the Coast-State of New Zetroscha (#169). Sir Holbire’s brigade protects the town from land-borne threats from the Lost Coast (#64) and the Tinker King (#174) as well as the rare pirate foray from bases such as Reaver’s Rock (#22) on Taop Bay. Lascha features a goodly-sized harbor, home to a growing fishing fleet and the 1st ship of a new ocean brigade organized by some sailors hoping to catch the Marshall’s attention. A rise above the harbor is home to buildings in both old Ta’arnan and newer styles covering all manner of businesses and numerous residences. Actively maintained roads depart from Lascha along the coast to the south and eastward inland toward the villages about South Plains Tar (#68). Other paths head north along the coast and northeast toward the Afale Maug and its dangers. 




Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #349 

December 16th, 2023 

  • Number: 349 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Warriors of the Wastelands – Part 6 

  • Location: The Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 3,900 (City of Stones in the Church-State of Earth and Water) 

  • Brief: Distrust. Despite warming relations between the Matui Tribe and the Church-State of Earth and Water, the leadership of Taodeas, the Gotasi and Launi Tribes in particular, do not trust the “new look” theocracy to be anything less than a potential reincarnation of the Ta’arnan Empire. Memories of the years upon years of battle to win and then maintain Taodeas’ independence are still fresh in the minds of the tribal elders. In parallel, for years, the United Tribes created several government-run organizations to train young Kin in service of the people of Taodeas. One of these, the Silver Vale for Young Fighters, selects the best of the best to train to become secret agents, infiltrators, scouts and other specialized roles. With the grudging approval of the Matui Tribe, the Silver Vale has inserted a network of agents into the Church-State of Earth and Water. Their jobs are to destabilize the nation if possible or at least slow their development as well as gauge and report on the Church-State's true goals in the region. 

  • Jolly Silk, 28, female Tabaxi (feline humanoid), is a Swashbuckler. She is tall for a Tabaxi and sinuous. Her tan-colored body has dark brown spots. Jolly has a long, luxurious tail and extra-sharp retractable claws. She wears leather armor that includes a cowl instead of a helm. Her primary weapon is a rapier, though she is skilled at throwing stars. She has a long scar on her right leg from a duel when she was a teenager. 

  • Jolly recruited to attend the Silver Vale for Young Fighters. Her parents chose her curriculum based on the hope that she would work for the tribal government. In her late teens, the teachers of the Silver Vale shifted her skills to that of a stealth operator. Jolly works as a spy in the Church-State's militia, collecting intel and forcing duels to eliminate unwanted people.  

  • Jolly lives in the militia barracks in the City of Stones and reports once a week to her handler, Cheeky Owl, 42, male Tabaxi. They use a meerkat named Poppet to exchange coded notes. Jolly has befriended Curious Quill, 25, female Tabaxi, and Cadence Grask, 42, female Human for the job. Curious works as a barmaid at the Foamy River Tavern, where all the church government types have a drink. Cadence works as a grocer and is quite a gossip. The two of them provide just the correct information that Jolly needs. Jolly has instigated and participated in twelve duels and eliminated five potential problems. She plans to retire after this assignment and find a Tabaxi to settle down with. 

  • Geography: Jolly is posted to work against the Church of Earth in the City of Stones (#140) one of the two capitals of the Church-State of Earth and Water. The Silver Vale has a parallel network of agents in the City of Pools (#135) working against the Church of Water, but they are, as one might expect, unaware of each other. Both networks are run from an innocous looking riverboat that sails up and down the Matui River, staffed by River Wardens and offices of the Silver Vale. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #350 

December 17th, 2023 

  • Number: 350 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Warriors of the Wastelands – Part 7 

  • Location: The Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 666 (Mad Enslay north-eastern Mu Ono Desert) 

  • Brief: The wretched, the scum and the villains of the northeast Wastelands, surrounded by those would gladly lock them up or worse, hang them, fled into the badlands of the Mu Ono Desert. There they found salvation of a sort in the form of a settlement centered about a spring wrenched to the surface by the wizard Somerstat “Mad” Enslay centuries ago. Mad Enslay’s other legacies lay locked within the dead (?) wizard’s tower in the center of a ramshackle town thrown against the base of the arcane spire. Mad Enslay is home to all manner of ne’er-do-wells including dispossessed Saut Tribesfolk, exiled Fesea Nomads, defrocked Guildsmen and Kin who have drifted down from the Dismal Marsh for “a bit of fun.” As expected, it has been infiltrated by agents of each of those surrounding regimes. Mad Enslay is ruled by the so-called Cabal of the Wizard’s Kin, an ever-changing bunch of miscreants who claim some relationship with Mad Enslay however tenuous or contrived. The Cabal meets in a guarded meeting room at the top of The Stack, an “entertainment” complex in the center of Mad Enslay comprised of various levels focused on gambling, entertainment and the like all built over the spectacle of the Bloodstain Arena in cavernous basement. 

  • Rur the Red, 32, male Hobgoblin, is a fighter at the Bloodstain Arena of Mad Enslay. He is tall and durable. His blue-gray skin has light yellow fur on it. Rur doesn't care about his appearance; his fur is often matted, and his skin has lacerations. He wears different pieces of armor left over from other gladiators. His face is imposing, and his nose appears broken. Rur likes to use large weapons such as battleaxes and broadswords. 

  • Rur became a gladiator at seventeen when a group of adventurers captured him from the Cold Paws Warrior Tribe and sold him to the arena. Since he was big and robust, the arena's owners took time to get him some martial training. Rur thrived and worked his way up the arena ranks. When Rur was 28, a female goblin, Sur, arrived. Rur and Sur became a gladiator pair and added some comedy to their routine. The crowds loved it, and people came to the arena to see them. Currently, the duo performs with Sur using a net and spear, and then Rur doing an elaborate finishing move to knock out their opponent. 

  • Rur lives in a small private room at the arena. Gone are the days of sharing bunk beds in the barracks. Rur is still considered a slave and must have a soldier accompany him outside the arena. He was recently granted permission to marry and is now engaged to Olvol, 23, female Hobgoblin. Their marriage will be an event for the crowds to watch. 

  • Geography: Mad Enslay proudly sits in the middle of a square bounded by the Dismal Marsh (#274) to the north, Guild Watch (#170) to the east, the lands of the Fesea Nomads (#173) to the south and the tribal territory of the Saut Tribe (#161) to the west. The ancient wizard brazenly built his tower in the center of the wild lands of the north-eastern Mu Ono Desert, it and the Stack nestled besides, visible for miles in all directions. Smaller structures of all shapes and sizes huddle about the taller pair for strength, support and protection. The inhabitants have also delved deeply into the earth below Mad Enslay, creating the Bloodstain Arena as well as vaults, prison cells, storage and numerous escape tunnels. It is rumored the wizard built down as well as up, but the material and magics of the tower have to date resisted all attempts to delve into its secrets. 




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