Tectoctar

Jevanicia

Tectoctar was a small city of 6,000 people who the rest of the world described as degenerates. Tectoctar was one of the most awful places one could imagine to live in. It had food and shelter, but not of a particularly good kind. The place had its share of problems with all the bugs, the seasonal flooding, and the continual sinking of any building into Danar’s Swamp. It’s rumored that some of the oldest buildings have basements so far done that they go into the Underdark.

Tectoctar was built on Danar’s Swamp, not next to it, under it, or over it, but on it. The town was built by Tectoctar, a Xorian general turned renegade, who led his army to the north and settled in the swamp when he received a sign from Zeus. Zeus had intended the usurper to die in the swamp, but Tectoctar was an excellent commander and managed to force his troops to stay and work through the absolute discipline he had instilled in them prior to their expedition. Additionally he had his lieutenant general cast a spell that let him read people’s thoughts allowing him to punish traitors before they committed their first act of sedition. Unfortunately for Tectoctar the side effect of knowing every man’s thoughts within a two mile radius is rather destructive. The tyrant general went insane and disappeared into the western reaches of the bog. The citizens of the city had already settled down and knowing they would not be welcomed back in Xoria decided to stay.

Tectoctar had no city plan of any kind. Occasionally an architectural accident would make a front door unreachable and required a new one to be cut in the walls. The principal building material was wood sent upriver from Bigby’s forest. The wood was used to create a frame for the house and then covered with hides, leaves, or hay to keep the rain and bugs out. Any building made with a heavier structure sank into the ground within a few months and even the wooden structures were constantly sinking, creating basements of ever increasing size beneath the city.

The extremely moist soil of Tectoctar was quite good for growing rice, but excruciatingly bad for anything else most people consider edible. A type of flower grows in the swamp that can be eaten called Shorehorn. The animal life that served as the protein for most Tectoctarian dishes is revolting. Snails, slugs, leeches, unclean fish, snakes, and other reptiles. The lucky outsider was served Tojanida. These monsters dwell in the swamp and when a dead one is found it was often sold to the wealthy of the town.

As Tectoctar grew older more people immigrated who were rejected by other cities and countries and were told of a paradise where everyone is welcome. Many of them were not impressed by the “paradise.” Some vagabonds left if they could, but most had run out of money getting to the city and were forced to stay. The rare few actually liked Tectoctar better because at least they are the same as everyone else here. The descendants of these immigrants composed the majority of the city’s population.

Tectoctar neither exported nor imported anything because it is nothing more than a large poor town in the middle of a swamp. The one attraction to the town was their local artifact of chewing gum, a type of food that oozes from trees that you cannot actually stop getting sustenance from. You could chew gum forever and never have to worry about eating, drinking, or going to the bathroom again. Unfortunately this miraculous item does not keep for more than a day, so it was only traded in mass quantities to the most foolish of tourists.

The city was ruled by the Race Council. An influential member of each race that lived in Tectoctar was appointed by their brethren to the council. The council had representatives from many different species including, Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Dragons, Ogres, Giants, Goblins, Orcs, Lizardfolk, Gnolls, Trolls, Kobolds, and Troglodytes. Each off shoot of one race was still considered the same. A rather extreme example of the inequity of this policy was present in the representation of Drow by a High Elf councilor. The Race council met once every three months to decide on issues that affected the entire city.

The Xorian government long resented the existence of Tectoctar as it was technically a rebel city. During the regency of Queen Anajakaze, the Xorian army attacked and defeated Tectoctar. It’s people were executed, enslaved, or driven out of the city. With no one else to inhabit the buildings, the city slowly sank into the swamp. The structures still exist beneath the muck, slowly rotting away, but also perhaps holding magic treasures for explorers brave and clever enough to find them.

After the destruction of Tectoctar, Queen Anajakaze created a new colony on the edge of Danar’s Swamp named Jevanicia.

-GoCorral

Jipangu

Jipangu

Jipangu is a large city of 110,000 people in the middle of Zeus’s Canvas. Most of the people in the city have some relation to one noble family or another even if they are several hundred steps away from being leader of their family. All this nobility confuses outsiders, but for those who grow up with it, the whole hierarchy makes perfect sense. In fact, the natives find societies without this level of nobility difficult to understand.

Jipangu is built on Zeus’s Canvas, a place in which great storms rage year round. The city is atop a large, dirt-covered, rock plateau. The constant deluges do not have disastrous effects for the citizens when they are inside the city. Irrigation canals reroute the large amount of rain from the plateau into the rice patty fields that feed the large population of Jipangu. An ancient orchard also exists close to the city. It has many different types of fruit that are eaten by the Jipanguese and the birds that flock around it. Sounders of pigs are kept around the city for the disposal of waste and to provide fresh meat for the citizens.

Honor is very important to the Jipanguese. The slightest offense or indignity is settled with a duel or immediate compensation; thus, there are many duel shrines in every section of the city. These places look like large square gazebos with benches on the outside for spectators to watch the duels if they wish. Within the shrine a weapons bracket holds a variety of wooden weapons. Most duels are decided by the first hit landed with a wooden weapon. Serious offenses will proceed until one combatant is rendered unconscious. Only in extremely dire circumstances are duels to the death. Duels to the death are scheduled in advance to allow both sides to make arrangements should they die. Such duels attract large crowds.

Because of all these duels the average citizen in Jipangu can act to carry out his own justice. The high sense of honor prevents most of the citizenry from abusing their skills. Jipangu has neither police force nor the need for it because of all the trained swordsmen. Secret crimes, like burglary, are still committed in Jipangu. Such crimes are investigated by the government detective agency, Tarot De’Longshare. The army handles riots and revolts when they do occur. The system works well and crime in the city is swiftly punished.

Jipangu has a militaristic culture. A strong man is respected and gains honor with every fight he wins. Weak men lose their political power without repeated reinforcement from their other traits. The high value on physical strength makes surrender an unacceptable and cowardly option. The Jipanguese army does not retreat from battle. Politicians do not change their positions when the situation changes. This adamancy in one’s decisions once they are made means very few things are said with uncertainty in Jipangu. An unofficial law has sprung up that if one breaks their word, they will be exiled.

Jipangu has a traditional style of clothes that is worn at all times by people in the city-state. Anyone not doing so is socially ridiculed and outcast. The traditional garb is a long, colored vest worn over a white shirt. The color of the vest indicates the wearer’s honor and position in the hierarchy of Jipangu. A headband is also worn that signifies special achievements by the symbols upon it. The pants of the outfit are extremely baggy below the knee, but no other special significance is applied to them. Silk is of course better than cotton or wool. Pants are worn by both sexes except at special ceremonies. There are no special shoes worn with the outfit. Armor is not worn within the city except by soldiers.

The official Jipanguese army of 7,000 is one of the best equipped and trained in Cimmeria, but it lacks unity. The soldiers fight for themselves and their own honor. Tactics are often simply choosing where the troops will charge from. The army does contain infantry, cavalry, archery, clerical, and magical units. Each unit has its general and each general has his centurions. They meet before each battle to discuss where they will fight, but since honor is obtained through killing with your own sword, instead of the overall victory, they will work on their on.

Jipangu has a First Family that rules over the whole city and decides disputes between the other families. The most honorable family holds this position and only loses it in a challenge by another family or through a major dishonorable event for the First Family. In the case of a dishonored First Family a council of all the families is called to decide which of them will take the place of the First Family in the new order.

The art of the city is some of the best in the world and it is present throughout the whole city. Almost every object, piece of furniture, and wall is decorated in some way. Vines, flowers, and all things natural and beautiful are usually the subject of art. If Jipanguese art was a representation of the real world then there would be no people, actions, or conflict in it. These things are always absent from the walls, paintings, and sculptures of Jipangu. Their focus is on still-life pictures.

Jipangu joined the Second Alliance against Xoria. Arendil, the current head of the First Family, leads the Alliance as well. Jipangu is currently hosting thousands of refugees that escaped from Phoenix when the city was conquered by the Xorians. The influx of people puts a strain on Jipangu’s resources, but imports from the rest of the Alliance have alleviated some of that burden.

The refugees of Phoenix along with many people from Dalleer, Dorrowsan, and Shalerton have all gathered outside of Jipangu for military training. Gradorian and Junai, the previous leaders of the Mercenaries Guild of Phoenix, are in charge of this vast training program. Kig Yupington assists the two generals as he can with the Dorrowsan Scepter. The training is further accelerated by rituals read from the Tome of Agamemnon. These rituals purify water teleported to the city from the Geyser of Talos. Any who drink this water are transformed into a terrifying warrior for a day. This transformation allows the trainees at Jipangu to learn techniques and strategies that would normally be beyond their abilities.

Geyser of Talos
Where ye Geyser of Talos is for reference

-GoCorral

New Dog, Copper

Copper with his technicolor rope (it looks brown to him).
Copper with his technicolor rope (it looks brown to him).

I got a new dog three weeks ago named Copper.

He’s a Jack Russel/Yorkshire Terrier mix as you can see.

Before we adopted him he was found on the street when he was about one year old. His first shelter gave him all his shots, but he was apparently too shy for adoption. They were going to put him down.

A different shelter adopted him to prevent his death. They neutered him and about a month after that we got him.

He’s been quite a hand full. The shelter my wife and I adopted him from assured us that he was house trained, leash trained, and got along with cats.

I can assure you that none of those things were true when we got him.

He’s pooped in pretty much every room in the house. We’ve been working solidly on house training him, but its still frustrating.

He’s somewhat leash trained, but he doesn’t like going on walks for some reason. Copper doesn’t run when I tell him I’m taking him on a walk, but he doesn’t get very excited either.

Once the walk starts he spends the first two blocks trying to go back home until he realizes that I won’t let him do that. Then he starts enjoying his time outside.

And the cat thing. He actually does get along with the cats now that he knows them, but at first it was just a bunch of fights between them. Their relationship still isn’t perfect, but at least they aren’t trying to murder each other 24/7 anymore.

He certainly isn’t shy around us, but he’s proven to be very territorial and aggressive towards other people. The best way to fix that is to take him to a dog park and socialize him with other dogs.

I’d like to do the dog park thing, but unfortunately, Copper doesn’t know any basic commands yet. If he went wild for some reason at the park there’d be no way to control him besides force.

I’ve been teaching him basic commands (sit, down, stay, come, off, drop) and he’s made some improvements. Hopefully he’ll master those within the next few weeks and then we can take him to the dog park.

He’s shown promise for learning a few other commands as well. He loves to jump up and down on his hind legs. He can close drawers by jumping up and pushing on them. He knows how to do rolls and how to fetch. He just isn’t trained to do any of those things on command yet.

The fortunate thing is that if he does tricks like those on his own, then he can be trained to do them on command fairly easily. I’ll work on that after he reliably does the basic commands.

Sitting on my lap while I write the blog.
Sitting on my lap while I write the blog.

Copper is a great dog. I’d wanted a dog for a long time and I’d built up this ideal dog in my head that I would get when the time is right. Copper is not that dog, but he’s showing that he can be if we help him to learn how.

-GoCorral

Jeutontic

Jeutontic

Jeutontic is a city of 120,000 people built on the very tip of Gaia’s Navel. The city is walled on all sides, but has one unbarricaded entry point from the canyon. Twenty inch high steps go all the way down to the bottom of the mile and a half deep gorge. The steps widen as they go down as well, being about five hundred feet across at the canyon floor and twenty feet across at the top. The steps are made from Lumite, a type of granite that has been magically altered to glow white. The steps can be seen in the canyon from as far as ten miles away at Gaia’s First Wrinkle. After that Gaia’s Navel turns and the steps go out of sight.

A great mystery envelops the origin of Gaia’s Navel. No river ever flowed through the ravine and no titanic battle ever took place to scar the landscape. Thus it is assumed that the spot is the actual belly button of Gaia, the Earth Mother. Many clerics have petitioned the gods about where the 125 mile long crevice comes from, but the Olympians remain silent on the issue.

Thousands of people have come to Jeutontic to “walk the navel.” The journey through the canyon takes about eight days by foot and there is a small reprovisioning post on the western end. No steps exist on the west side. Instead there is only a massive cliff face. The ledge is scalable, but the climb is extremely difficult, taking three days for the most experienced to complete. The cliff has been nicknamed Dragon Cliff because it kills more people than dragons.

There are many caves and connections to the Underdark in the walls of Gaia’s Navel. This territorial oddity has led to Jeutontic’s greatest problem, attacks from the Underdark, and the city’s greatest advantage, training and selling the flying animals that settle in the upper caves. Griffons, Hippogriffs, Wyverns, Pegasi, and even a few Nightmares, known collectively as aerials, have made their homes in Gaia’s Navel. The people of Jeutontic have been capturing and domesticating the beasts for hundreds of years. A few of the animals are trained to be exported, but most will not fly farther than two hundred miles from the city. They become sick and die if forced to, almost as if a geas/quest was cast upon them. This training regime was implemented to combat theft. Fewer aerial rustlers will take the beasts if they know they can’t be sold for profit abroad.

Despite the limitations of the aerials they are still used in the expansive import-export activities of the city. Outposts have been set up within the 200 mile radius that the city aerials can fly to. Aerials fly goods to the perimeter where they are transferred to land-based caravans. The aerials fly back to Jeutontic with commodities dropped off by earthbound merchants. Larger and heavier cargoes that are too big for a single aerial to carry are placed on aerial wagons. The aerial wagon is basically a large tarp draped between two or more animals. With this invention most of the goods that are traded with Jeutontic can be transported between the city and the outposts quickly.

Of course a few cargoes weigh too much to be carried even by the largest aerial wagon of six griffons. For these huge loads the people of Jeutontic have elephants. Elephants were originally imported from India as a status symbol for the upper class of Jeutontic. Eventually, one intelligent merchant, Sharlada, realized he could use the gigantic beasts to move his goods from his warehouses in the city to his shops. The practice eventually spread to other businessmen until elephants became the norm for transport of goods and people throughout the entire city. Sharlada opened his own elephant ranch in Jeutontic, so that the useful animals do not need to be imported from India. Sharlada’s descendants still own and administrate the ranch which proudly bears his name upon the entrance.

All these creatures being used for transportation and labor puts the people of Jeutontic in a mood for animals. Thus exotic pets of all kinds are popular with the people of Jeutontic. Pseudodragons, cockatrices, shocker lizards, and other slightly dangerous pets can all be found for sale in the marketplace. Jeutontic is the best place to go if a magician wants an exceptional familiar. The most prized exotic pet in Jeutontic is called the Kanroji. It is a magic type of fox that has nine different types of breath weapons, fire, cold, acid, sonic, electricity, force, sleep, positive energy, and negative energy. Kanroji are known to grow very large in the wild, but once placed in a mage’s servitude they will stay the same size until their master’s death.

With the numerous pets, aerials, elephants, and people running around Jeutontic, waste disposal becomes a serious problem. The citizens of Jeutontic have come up with a rather ingenious solution, fertilizer. The city’s daily tons of excrement are exported to other parts of the Xorian Kingdom or used in the fields of Jeutontic to grow food to feed the inhabitants of the city to make more fertilizer. A wonderful circle of life.

Jeutontic is the biggest trading stop between Cimmeria and Persia. All commodities that travel by land have to pass through the city or risk the wild plains where bandits and monsters live. Xoria has levied a five percent tax on all goods that pass through Jeutontic except wheat and hay. Some smugglers try to sneak valuable goods through the gates by concealing them in hay, but all wagons are checked by the guards of the city. The city watchmen always seem to know when a merchant tries to smuggle something in. Magic is suspected, but no one dares confirm this theory.

Jeutontic is one of the most critical cities for the Xorian Kingdom and the one most at risk. It is the kingdom’s main source of income because of the numerous caravans that pass through it, but it is also the first city Persia would attack if the Great King decided to invade. In the unlikely event that a united Cimmeria successfully invaded the interior of Xoria, Jeutontic has been designated as a fallback point. Finally, Jeutontic is the logical expansion point for the creatures of the Underdark due to the tunnels of Gaia’s Navel. The city suffers near constant attacks from Drow, Svirfneblin, Duergar, Dromites, Mindflayers, and the other denizens of the deep. Jeutontic’s citizens have developed effective defenses against all these enemies.

For defense against the massive armies of Persia, Jeutontic relies on Xorian battle mages. Persian wizards are obviously not from Cimmeria where magic thrives and are thus inferior to those from Xoria. The Jeutontic division of the Xorian army has also perfected an aerial cavalry unit to be deployed in the case of an attack from Persia. This same cavalry battalion would be used against the city-states of Cimmeria if they invaded, harassing interlopers from up to two hundred miles away from the city walls.

The frequent attacks originating from beneath the city are stopped by liberally causing cave-ins. When the underdwellers bring tunneling animals the Xorian army has prepared a special type of freezing water to pour into the caverns beneath the city. The liquid is far colder than any natural water and it releases a noxious, unbreathable gas. The freezing water has killed many of those who live below the city.

Should an invading army ever breach the city walls there is an inner keep for the army to fall back to. The keep does not have enough space or resources to support the large population of Jeutontic. The civilians of the city are taught this from a young age and that if a conquering force should enter the city proper they are to arm themselves and fight with all their strength. Thus the potential risk of an armed civilian population revolting is turned into a militia that still serves the crown. The keep itself is defended with large ballistae, stone-throwers, and a contingent of battle mages.

Jeutontic, led by Duke Prusu, joined with the Alliance in the First Alliance War against Xoria. Upon losing, Prusu was captured and executed. The city was placed under the rule of the vampiric Rage, Havoc. Havoc vampirized many people within the city and their used their might to subjugate the mortals of Jeutontic. The vampires undertook many raids into the Underdark, destroying many of the previously aggresive communities that lived beneath Jeutontic. Slaves were taken on these raids and even forty years later it is not uncommon for a Xorian family to have an Underdark slave.

After King Jevaninada II came to power his first act was to end the vampiric occupation of Jeutontic. He and Blendegad singlehandedly eliminated most of the vampires from the city. The city’s jubilant cries soon turned to sounds of anguish as the old vampires were replaced with new Dragovinians. Many citizens tried to move to Persia, but Blendegad devoured all who fled the city. The people of Jeutontic bowed their heads and offered their necks to the new vampires while simultaneously plotting rebellion. The rebels’ efforts haven’t produced any tangible results yet and the introduction of Dragovinian beasts to ceaselessly watch the streets and alleys of the city hasn’t helped matters.

-GoCorral

Harbinston

Harbinston isn’t nearly as politically important to Cimmeria as the other cities I’ve detailed. It is a small village on the border of the territories influenced by Bradel Fields and Dalleer. I wrote a description of the out of the way town because a series of adventures I ran for my players was based in the village. Maybe the village will be important in my current campaign and maybe it won’t. Time will tell!

Harbinston

Harbinston is a small town of little more than four hundred people. The town sprung up as a trading stop between Dalleer and Bradel Fields. Merchants and traders traveling on the Black River would stop at the easy banking spot close to Robber’s Canyon. As trade increased along the river it also increased the number of robbers from which Robber’s Canyon gets its name. Many of the townsfolks had two lives, one of theft, and another of reprovisioning their victims. No concrete evidence of the duplicity was ever discovered, but the traveling merchants eventually grew suspicious and switched their method of travel to caravans along the eastern shore, safe from the robbers’ ambush tactic.

Harbinston’s large bandit population was a result of no administrative control in the town. No system of government controlled the town and for a long time both Dalleer and Bradel Fields claimed the small town as their own. The dual claim caused a standoff where neither city sent representatives to the town as doing so might spark a war between the two larger city-states.

About sixty years ago a group of adventurers did take an interest in cleaning up the town and cleaning out the nearby dungeons. The adventurers provided a steady flow of income to the villagers from the dungeons they raided. Highwaymen moved back to town and reopened their old shops to draw the heroes’ attention, greatly reducing bandit activity. The peace did not last forever. Eventually the adventurers retired to various mansions they had built close to the town and the highwaymen came back to prey on what little river traffic remained. One of the adventurers, Burne, even led the bandits for a time.

When the adventurers retired Harbinston lost its temporary protection against the many different monsters and creatures that have chosen to live around it. The town had no real guardians to act as predators for the monsters of the world, so every beast imaginable invaded the area surrounding the little village. Constructs, undead, plant monsters, mutated beasts, trolls, minotaurs, and even a dragon with its kobold servants moved to the fertile and previously unsettled fields around Harbinston. The dragon, called Joker, took a maiden from the town every decade.

To make matters worse two decades ago Harbinston had an outbreak of the plague. Without an experienced enough cleric to cast remove disease, the town sought help from Dalleer. Surprisingly, Dalleer agreed to send some strong clerics and medical supplies downriver and for once it looked like the town would have a lord to protect it. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, the town’s bandits attacked the medical barges. The medicine was not lost because of the strong guards Dalleer had hired, so the sick people in Harbinston were saved. The same could not be said for the dozens of young men who lost their lives in the foolish battle. Diplomacy with Dalleer was broken off after the incident.

The same guards who killed so many of Harbinston’s men to defend the medicine took it upon themselves to remove the other afflictions that plagued the town. They slew Joker and freed the maidens he had taken as his captive wives. The guards cut a bloody swath around the town, removing every monstrous threat for miles, save the kobold servants of Joker who were left to their own devices.

The town began to thrive again after the monsters were slain. With the bandits gone as well, trade resumed. Only the occasional kobold attack interrupted the town’s resurgence. During the recent negotiations between Bradel Fields and Dalleer, Bradel Fields agreed to cede all claims to Harbinston in exchange for Dalleer’s entrance into the Second Alliance War against Xoria. Harbinston now has official protection from a large city-state as well and it seems could never be brighter for this small settlement in the wilderness.

Most of the original band of heroes that protected the town are now long dead. The remaining hero, Sherlock the Warlock, built a tall tower for himself a day’s journey outside of town. He hasn’t left the tower in decades. Adventurers visit him occasionally and tell tales of all manner of strange things in the tower. Sherlock appears very knowledgeable if knowledge is what you seek. The adventurers who have gone to the tower also say that the old wizard has lost his mind.

-GoCorral

Minions Movie Review

Minions Poster

My wife and I saw Minions this weekend and we were both a little disappointed.

We both liked the first two movies, but the series is suffering from sequelitis where each new movie is a little worse than the one before.

Part of that problem is honestly a stronger focus on the minions with each new movie.

They’re good as sidekick characters, but a mute slapstick comedic lead hasn’t worked since Buster Keaton. People just expect more out of their movies now.

The plot of the movie is summed up pretty well in the trailers if you’ve seen those. Three minions try to find a villain to serve. They find Scarlet Overkill who tells them to steal the Queen of England’s crown. Hijinks ensue and Scarlet Overkill ends up wanting to kill the minions.

The trailer used most of the funnier bits of the movie in it, so there weren’t many surprises left to see.

The best part that was left out of the trailers was the Nelson family, a group of bankrobber fans of Scarlet Overkill.

They’re just a happy loving family that also happens to rob banks and idolize super villains.

Back to the general point, why didn’t the movie work for me? Because none of the characters were interesting (besides the Nelsons).

The minions are cute and funny, but they don’t speak. They literally cannot deliver punchlines to jokes.

There are basically only two other characters in the movie besides the minions, Scarlet Overkill and her dopey husband, Herb.

Scarlet is the embodiment of rage. She rages really well and Sandra Bullock was a great cast to play that character, but is she funny? NOPE! I don’t go to the movies to see people get mad over petty things. I don’t got anywhere for that sort of thing.

And Herb… He’s newspaper comic level funny. I can literally read the jokes he does every single day in the comics section. It’s just weak stuff.

My wife and I are fans of the series, so we’d be the most likely group of people to enjoy this movie, but we just didn’t. I wouldn’t recommend it to other adults who liked the first two Despicable Me movies. Maybe for kids, but not adults.

Another thing my wife and I had heard the movie was sexist before going to it. Gotta say, that was entirely wrong.

Minions has the same problem every other movie has with a lack of female characters. There’s Scarlet and the Queen. That’s it.

The Queen is barely present, so most of the sexist accusations would have to revolve around Scarlet’s portrayal or just the general absence of female characters. Since nearly every movie is missing female characters I assume what we’d heard was directed towards how Scarlet was portrayed.

And it just wasn’t sexist. She’s a powerful woman with a husband who is the “power behind the throne.” Basic role reversal already.

At one point she’s getting put into a corset-type dress which one could claim is sexist, until the dress turns into a giant rocket 2 minutes later in the movie.

You could also claim her desire to be pretty was imposing society’s values of what women should be, but that just feels like a stretch.

The final issue might be Scarlet’s life long dream to be Queen of England. You could see that as her wanting to be a princess or you could see it as her wanting to be the ruler of a country.

The sexism just wasn’t there (besides the no female characters thing).

Anyways, most of the people who read this blog are adults, so I recommend that you don’t see this movie. Even if you are a fan of Despicable Me. Just watch the trailer again. It’s pretty much the same and will save you a lot of time and money.

-GoCorral

Greshen Dale

Greshen Dale

Greshen Dale is the most magical city in all the land. The original city was underground to avoid the extreme temperatures that are the norm in the far north. However, a swarm of Bulettes came through the area destroying much and making too many unwanted tunnels. These extra tunnels collapsed most of the old city making it unlivable. A change had to be made, so the council of mages decided to create a flying fortress impregnable against any assault to house the population of Greshen Dale.

The plan for the new floating city was made by the powerful mage, Tentineh. He devised a method for harnessing the lava of a volcano to power the city. The annually active Dahak Volcano the previously loomed over the northern end of Greshen Valley was chosen to power the city. In addition to the lava power, Tentineh ripped magic from various endowed places and put it into the items that keep Greshen Dale afloat. This reaping of the land has created a few Spheres of Annihilation in Greshen Valley, but the citizens don’t really care. They are literally above that.

The Dahak Volcano was ripped from its natural place in the Terror Mountains and turned upside down to make a flat place to build upon. As all volcanoes in the Magical Lands are prisons for great and terrible monsters this act didn’t come without its consequences. The monster released from the volcano was the Dahak. He wants Zeus to have a son with Metis. Dahak’s repeated attempts to free Metis earned him the treatment reserved for the most terrible of monsters. Dahak did not kill his savior, Tentineh, in the typical evil monster way, but thanked him and summoned a group of Omnielementals to help with the construction of the floating Greshen Dale. It is rumored that Dahak now lives in the mountains slaying monsters and practicing his skills until he can challenge Zeus and free Metis.

A separate group of wizards in the old underground-based Greshen Dale attempted to rebuild the city above ground, but further south. The settlement flourished for a time, but the frequency of troll attacks in that area eventually led to the abandonment of what was dubbed New Greshen Dale.

The flying city constructed by Tentineh now looks like a three mile wide half-sphere of rock with four smaller half-spheres overlapping around it. Large holes in the center of each of these balls emit tremendous blue light that illuminates the entire valley underneath the city.

The top of the city has many pure white stone buildings with large, marble paved streets in between them. The avenues have grass and fruit trees growing in the middle of them. The buildings have a blue trim and are built in an Arabic style. Most food is magically created, but rather bland. Everyone has a garden to make the gruel from create food and water spells taste better. Some people use their gardens exclusively to make olive oil and wine which they sell to the rest of the city.

There is a labyrinth inside the volcano of the city where lava flows to power all the street lights, eradicate all the waste, power the magic that produces all the food and water, and project the forcefield around the city that prevents flying and teleporting intrusions. The artifacts, elementals, and other things that power the fortress are all guarded by golems other elemenetals. The five artifacts that power the blue lights keeping the city afloat are surrounded by a wall of force and are guarded by dragons.

Greshen Dale has a very static population of 20,000. The city has no more room to expand to include more population. Births and immigration have to be carefully controlled. This task is given to the Sky Patrol. The Sky Patrol prevents anyone from flying into the city and anyone who teleports into the city is redirected to the entry pad on the south side. People who can teleport in on their own or have been to the city legally before are allowed to stay with a tourist pass.

There is another way into the city without teleportation. Those who have legally been to the city before can use the teleport pad directly below Greshen Dale to ascend to the entry pad without expending a spell. Everyone can leave the city in the same manner.

This leaves out those who weren’t born in the city and those who can’t teleport on their own. Such people must traverse the caverns that were once the original city of Greshen Dale. The caverns contain many traps and minor constructs to challenge people. Within these winding passage ways are magical items that act as tourist passes and allow access to the city.

All the necessities in Greshen Dale are free. You need not pay for food, water, clothes, or a house. They are all provided by the magic of the city. Luxuries, magic items, and the right to see tourist attractions must still be paid for. Luxuries and attractions are at fairly steep prices as well for this is the only way to make a living in the city without using magic. Magic items are cheaper and the selection wider because Greshen Dale is where most of them are made and exported to other cities.

Greshen Dale is home to many schools of magic including the prestigious War Mage Academy. Entrants are mostly from the city itself, but some foreigners  pay large amounts of money to the city to get in without going through the trials or knowing how to teleport. Education must be paid for just like other expensive goods and services.

Greshen Dale is ruled by a council of mages. A councilor is allowed from each university and from each guild present in the city. They meet every two months to discuss the business of the city. Until recently the presiding councilor was traditionally not a mage, but a psion with the title, Cerebremancer. The last Cerebremancer was a dromite named Talon. The head of the War Mage Academy, a grey elf named Krodius, leads the Sky Patrol which enforces the decrees of the council.

The center of the city has a large plaza where many things are sold and magic tricks are preformed. In the exact center of the plaza is a large well that goes all the way through the volcano. The hole has rails preventing people from falling in. At the center of this hole is the Staff of Oblivion, an artifact known for its power against undead. Twelve bolts of lightning continually emanate and crackle from the staff and go to the sides of the hole. No one is sure why Tentineh placed it there, but most assume for defense or to have a piece of what keeps the fortress afloat visible to the public. The well is used to make offerings to the Dahak who is still a patron deity of the city.

During the First and Second Alliance Wars Greshen Dale has so far remained neutral. The Xorians offered citizenship to the people of Greshen Dale after the Battle of Phoenix in the Second Alliance War, but the council of mages declined in favor of continuing their neutrality. This declination also involved the signing of an official neutrality document. This document allowed free access to the city for Xoria’s Dragovinian population. The Dragovinians moved in, led by Lady Li of Colchis, and began converting the people of Greshen Dale to Dragovinysm.

Cerebramancer Talon, seeing that his people would inevitably decide to join the Xorians, attempted to stop them from joining with an evil power. Talon allied with Amalius, Torin, Tagenadi, and Eathirilu to secure the Red Orb of Dragonkind from the northwestern sphere of Greshen Dale. The sphere could float for a time on its own without the Orb. The Orb could then be used to dominate Lady Li and her followers and expel them from the city. Unfortunately, Amalius deviated from the plan by willfully destroying the Red Orb in order to free the captive red dragons, Invernix and Sartoria.

Talon’s involvement was quickly discovered. He fled into the lava tubes beneath the city with a few loyal followers. In his absence, Lady Li and the new Dragovinian Sky Patrol Leader, Krodius, rule the city. Talon and his followers fight a guerrilla war against the Dragovinians in the city, but it is only a matter of time before the city officially joins with the Xorian Empire.

-GoCorral