821BCE: The Gish Trio let the githyanki and blue dragons wear themselves down against each other. Tracy and Tereman worked on a banishment spell to throw the Lich-queen back to the Astral Plane. Galandir and Blendegad forged new magical equipment using the metal of the githyanki’s silver swords.
820BCE: Blendegad noticed a peculiar resonant quality to the silver sword material. He began work on a panoply of armor, shield, and sword that would enhance each other when worn together.
819BCE: Tracy and the Gish Trio’s work was complete. They had the best gear they could manufacture and a spell guaranteed to throw the Lich-queen out of the Material Plane permanently. The heroes waited for the best time to strike. Fortunately, the Draco-Gith War gave them plenty of opportunities. The Lich-queen was weakened after a battle with the blue dragons and the Gish Trio chose that time to strike. Their plan proved successful, but not without cost. Tereman banished the Lich-queen to the Astral Plane, but Tracy’s soul was ripped from her body and consumed during the fight rendering her eternally dead. The Draco-Gith War continued after the Lich-queen’s banishment, but without her direct presence. The Gish Trio fought on without Tracy, eliminating powerful githyanki wherever they could.
818BCE: Blendegad’s guilt over the death of Tracy drove him to alter the shield of the combined panoply he’d made with Galandir and Tereman. With Shratalanda’s notes and his gathered knowledge of the githyanki, Blendegad changed the nature of the resonant power of the panoply. Now when all three were worn together they would transform the bearer into an immortal being. Blendegad completed his work and donned the gear and he changed into a new breed of immortal, a vampire. Blendegad noticed the drawbacks of his new nature quickly and hid the effects from Galandir and Tereman. He drank from the githyanki they killed when his allies’ backs were turned.
761BCE: Lord Bjorn of Dalleer died of old age. Bjorn’s son did not succeed him. Instead, Ballath, a wise, human friend of Bjorn’s, assumed the lordship. Bjorn’s family was outraged. Ballath took Bjorn’s name as a title in a failed attempt to keep the peace, but he refused to surrender control.
759BCE: Bjorn’s children moved to Jord. Most of Dalleer’s dwarven population followed.
737BCE: Bjorn Ballath of Dalleer died of old age. Like his successor before him, Ballath overlooked his children in favor of an experienced friend, Skizofren.
736BCE: Bjorn Skizofren began to drink heavily after Ballath’s death. He started drafting insanely foolish laws while drunk and he was always drunk. Ballath’s heirs attempted to correct Skizofren’s decisions, but the Bjorn seemed unnaturally skilled at political manuevering.
735BCE: Bjorn Skizofren insulted Ballath’s family. Frustrated with the Bjorn, the children of Ballath left Dalleer. They traveled downriver and founded Bradel Fields near the mouth of the Black River.
Dalleer Shaelin left Dalleer in the hands of his trusted friend, Bjorn, when he left to reclaim Fangaroot. Bjorn guided the city through the Dragon War and through the Dwarven Civil War. They emerged as a city-state that nominally owed their fealty to King Yentbern in Jord. Bjorn ruled through a golden age for Dalleer as the metropolis grew and welcomed people of all races. Eventually Bjorn died as one of the most loved rulers in all Cimmeria. The lordship did not pass to his son. Instead , Bjorn willed his position to a wise human friend of his, Ballath. Ballath took the position gladly. Outraged, Bjorn’s living family moved to Jord. Many dwarves followed suit, not wishing to live under the rulership of a human. Ballath wished to keep a hold on the city’s past, so he took the name of Bjorn as a title in a failed attempt to keep the peace. He lead the city well, but it was not what it once was. When it came time to choose a successor, Ballath also passed over his own children. While they were well trained and ready for leadership, Ballath wanted to follow in the footsteps of Shaelin and Bjorn. When Ballath passed, the scepter of Dalleer went to a philosopher and friend of Ballath’s named Skizofren. This man took up the title of Bjorn. Skizofren seemed like a wise and just choice during Ballath’s life, but after his friend’s death he began drinking heavily. Some claimed that it was no longer blood that flowed through his veins, but red wine. Skizofren made foolish and insane laws while drunk and he was always drunk. Ballath’s family followed the path of the original Bjorn’s and quit Dalleer. They went downriver and formed a new settlement named Bradel Fields. Many expected Dalleer to collapse under Skizofren’s rule, but the man proved them wrong. The populace plotted a revolt. Skizofren befriended key members of the revolution during his drunken escapades and stopped the revolt before it began. The actions of a reckless mage opened Dalleer up to interdimensional attack. Skizofren drunkenly led his people through the portal to find a means to close it. An army from the new city of Bradel Fields threatened Daller. Skizofren led the citizens in building catapults and trenches that warded off the attack. He organized crop planting and seemed to miraculously predict which crop’s would survive and where they would thrive. Skizofren’s tenure as the Bjorn seemed blessed by the gods despite his constant drunken state. Skizofren ruled for close to one hundred years. When his time came he named a unknown young man as his successor. The people honored Skizofren’s request and made the young man the Bjorn. This Bjorn became stark mad when he took the throne. He blundered through problems for Dalleer, but never with the same style and flair as Skizofren. The people of Dalleer were too attached to the ways of Skizofren to remove the man from office. Instead they largely removed power from the Bjorn and gave his advisors discretion in how they led the city. The position of Bjorn became largely ceremonial. The tradition of each Bjorn naming their successor remained. Every Bjorn since Skizofren has named an insane male human as his successor. The Bjorn is now a figurehead for an unstructured oligarchy that rules Dalleer from behind their puppet.
This one is a PC created by one of my players with the screen-name, Ozymandias. While Ozymandias designed Preta mechanically and ran him during the events of the campaign, I was the one who came up with his backstory as an exiled Persian Prince.
Preta is a Persian Prince, the Arch-Wizard of Aractrash, and a circle magic master. He is the son of Xerxes II and the true-born heir to the throne of Persia. He was a member of the Second Alliance involved in many of the Council’s most discussions and missions. Preta used lethal force during on a riot in Bradel Fields and was arrested. He fled the Alliance and took Hektor’s spot as the Arch-Wizard of Aractrash. Continue reading →
Amalius Halkias is a controversial figure in the Second Alliance and a powerful psion proficient in telepathy, hypercognition, time manipulation, and elemental magic. His father, Amalganus, founded the Second Alliance, and Amalius followed his father’s footsteps to become a member of the Alliance Council. He was subsequently ostracized from the Alliance once it was discovered that he was an unwilling Xorian spy and the descendant of Amalgami, the same man who had betrayed the First Alliance and left it to ruin. Amalius managed to repair his reputation by striking a deal with Hades to resurrect thousands of Alliance soldiers, but his relationship with some of the other Alliance Council members is still rocky. Continue reading →
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 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.
A note before I get into the meat of this update. I adapted this city from a previously created city posted on the Thieves Guild. The Thieves Guild is a great old website with lots of ideas for roleplaying games. I’d definitely recommend checking out the Thieves Guild if you’re a DM/GM and in need of some inspiration. The original content for this city post is called the City of Stormfront by The Guildmaster and can be accessed using this link. The Guildmaster also made a map of Stormfront that I’ve adapted for Bradel Fields. The map has little numbers on it denoting the locations that are marked in the writeup with numbers like this (#).
Bradel Fields, a city with population of close to 30,000, was originally a monarchy. The kings were fair and just, and slowly gave the citizens democratic concessions as they were demanded before abdicating. The noble family split into six smaller families after the Bradel Council took over. The castle was converted into a guard barracks and the royals moved into the castle courtyard, now called Noble Way. The Bradel Council originally gave a pension to the nobles, but the pension fund dwindled over the years and the remaining nobles have sought other forms of income. Most have become entrepreneurs, army soldiers, navy sailors, or taken positions in the Council.
The new Bradel Council rules from the old courthouse (2). The three new sections at the sides and back have been added to hold the growing democratic bureaucracy. The Bradel Council is split into different parts which discuss and vote on different issues. The different sections are Police, Army, Agriculture, Commerce, Internal, and Supreme. The supreme section has the power to override any decision made by the other sections. When new councilors run for office they must choose the section they are running for. The term of a councilor is six years with thirty councilors elected every year. Each building in the city gets one vote to appoint councilors. All bills are passed by majority.
The arena (1) is a large pit used for battles to entertain or deliver justice. Spectators look down from the upper level, witnessing bloodshed of all kinds. Gladiators walk out along a special platform and down a ramp into the pit for battle. This platform is ten feet lower than the spectator stands, and ten feet higher than the bottom of the pit. At the northwest section of the pit through a large wrought iron gate animals and monsters are brought in whenever they are required to fight. There is a betting parlor near the entrance where the labor is all elves. The arena is a business venture started by the secretive elves of Valor’s Forest.
The temple (3) is surrounded by an eight foot wall with large iron gates which are always open. The interior of the wall is decorated with a large flower garden adorned with statues of the twelve Olympians. The temple itself sits at the far end of the garden, on the other side of the main gates. The temple is a tall majestic building with golden towers and glistening gates. A small bridge on the second floor extends from the rear of the temple over the nearby street, connecting to a small building across the way where the clergy reside.
The Hall of Knowledge (4) is a large wooden library with a stone foundation. Inside are hundreds of shelves of books, tomes, and papers containing information of all sorts. The library does not rent out books and ones containing spells are restricted to citizens who have had library cards for over a year.
The knight’s guild (5) is nestled close to the city docks and guard barracks. The noble warriors of the city reside in this large stone keep near the waterfront. The keep was built long ago to provide protection for the city, and looks to be a military masterpiece of protection. Yet, regardless of the building’s strong exterior, it is rather comfortable and welcoming inside. The guild is in charge of the city’s army. The current Guildmaster is Cheregon one of the noble lady-knights from House Tiisson. Entrance into the guild is restricted to citizens of the city.
There are about five hundred policemen based at the city police barracks (6) who keep trouble off the streets and out of the farms and slums if they can. They are trained at the city guard training area. Two galleons and six frigates take port at the city navy base (7). Members of the knight’s guild are the sailors on board when needed. The Harbor Master (10) collects the fees for any trade goods brought in by sea and for docking your ship, dependent on size. The ranger’s guild (20) is a two story wooden building that provides the home for the rangers of the city. The forest gate (27) leads directly to the forest and the city’s graveyard.
Between the courthouse and the arena is a statue (9). It shows a marble Zeus dropping a granite mountain on top of an obsidian Typhon. The eyes are gems, Zeus’s clothes gold, and the point of Typhon’s tail is Adamantite. The city is immensely proud of its statue constructed by Phidias the sculptor.
Bradel Fields is unique in having a jail for punishment instead of just holding people before trial. The city’s jail (11) is a large building standing three stories high. There is only one entrance, through the front gates. Guard towers are posted on the roof, looking down on the crowded streets of the city. Dim lights can be seen through the few barred windows of the building. Rumors have it that the jail goes several stories below ground, housing more than criminals, but demons and other monsters as well. Some say there is even a connection to the Underdark. Of course such things are only myths the Bradel Council says.
The super store, the Red Dragon Warehouse (12), is the hot spot for adventurers and people wanting something you that cannot be obtained anywhere else. The three story high building sits near the private docks of the noble merchants, and is surrounded by a twelve foot high wall. The prices are more expensive here, but the selection is almost endless. Seagulls constantly circle the flat roof of the building, where several smaller buildings sit. The owner is Trobador, a halfling who inherited the business and has been expanding it even further.
The Red Dragon Casino is owned by Trobador as well. He has many interesting physical games inside as well as the normal card and dice games. A lot of the gladiators spend their winnings in the casino. The owner also does an event at the Arena once every four years. A red dragon is captured by his employees and gladiators go up against it one at a time for the whole day or until the dragon is defeated. Trobador has to put some heavy wards down to protect the spectators, but the event is the biggest festival in town.
The Adventure Dome (14) is a mysterious building that gives a unique experience to anyone going inside. No one knows who built it, but the person selling tickets is a dryad. No one knows her name, where her tree is, or what she does with the money she earns, but most assume the answers can be found in the dome somewhere.
The walls surrounding the mage’s tower (16) are smooth gray stone. They appear to be easy to climb; but in actually are extremely slippery. There appear to be no windows or entrances to the inside. Only members of the mage’s guild know how to access what’s within. They contact you to make you a member not the other way around.
The Bradel Fields tavern (17) is a large wooden building providing a place of rest for weary travelers and a space to mingle for citizens. Drinks are served at all hours in this fine establishment. Rooms are also available; one just has to ask the manager. The tavern employs over a hundred people to service its clients.
The bard’s playhouse (18) is a large modified theater no longer used for performances that houses the city’s bards. This building provides a place for bards to eat, sleep and practice. Work for actors and stage hands can be found in this cozy establishment, along with prestige and talent.
The Grand Theater & Music Hall (19) is near the richest part of the city (The noble section, located on Noble Way). Inside is an enormous theater which can seat thousands. Plays, ballets and musical performances of only the highest quality take place here once every ten days.
The psionicist’s guild (21) is located on the first and second floor of this three story building. It is the only well known place to get information on psionics or to train in its art. Many of the teachers in the guild believe that psionics is the way for humans to become equal to angels and devils. There is also a cartel of mindflayer hunters in the guild. The guild owns the building, but must rent out the bottom floor to cover costs. The current renter, a bard living at the playhouse, uses it as a dance studio.
Warrior’s Rest (22) is a private establishment which caters to warriors of all types except the knights and rangers of the city. It is believed that these professions don’t need to take up space at the Rest because rangers and knights both have large guilds that look after them. The tavern also doubles as a tiny inn. Rooms are cheap and the company is often welcoming…as long as trouble isn’t started.
The Park of the Traveler (23) where exotic animals of all kinds roam this small forest, rumors say that they appeared one day as the result of some mad magician’s spell gone awry. A group of druids act as zookeepers here and train new druids to coexist with Human society. Because of the nature of some of these animals, this park can be a dangerous place, but still less dangerous then the Park of Delights.
Park of Delights (24) is a dark and foreboding place. This park is sometimes used for underworld meetings as a neutral ground. The local guards are often paid to keep clear, and most do so without payment. The park is said to be a home of evil. Disappearances occur often here and every so often a dead body turns up… Some say that an evil cult worships in this small forest, but nothing has been proven.
The city graveyard (25) is an enormous area outside of the city where the dead rest. Huge mausoleums and unmarked graves are scattered about. Grave robbery is kept in check by the local grave keepers for a price paid through the taxes of the city. As such necromancy is not a serious problem in the city.
Outside of the south gate (26) is an area where poverty stricken people reside. Too poor to afford adequate housing inside the safety of the city walls, these people tend to build crude structures from any available materials. The people here range from petty thieves to crippled indigents. A thief’s guild may exist here, but authorities have not found any evidence so far.
The Grain Gate (28) is where a majority of the city’s food is imported through. The farms surrounding the city tend to gather nearest to this gate; although there are still many other farms located near the other gates.
In recent history Bradel Fields joined the first and second Alliances against Xoria. During the first war the republic city was led by Hector, a young knight with connections to Princess Tarigananata. Hector died during the war. The second Alliance is led by Hector’s son, Astyanax. Astyanax went through a traumatic incident with a demon. After he recovered he executed Bradel Council members who were against continuing the war and assumed dictatorial control of the city. To enforce his new edicts, Astyanax drafted the goblin slaves of the city into a police force/army.