Yuettencal

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Yuettencal has a population of close to 150,000 and is the capital of Aractrash. Satronwook, Tetalya, and Lordodo are all vassals of Yuettencal. Yuettencal fits perfectly within the jungle. All but the most fortified buildings are made of wood, dirt, or underground entirely. Fire prevention would usually be a problem, but the moist conditions of the rainforest and numerous spellcasters with create water at the ready prevent the spread of any blaze. Starting a fire without magic or tindertwigs is a bigger problem than preventing them.

Yuettencal’s production is mostly tropical fruits, tropical wine from tropical fruits, tropical art, tropical animals, and spell components you can only find in the jungle. Jungle trees produce poor quality wood and the surrounding soil is also poor. Yuettencal’s economy would fall apart were it not for the gold mines to the north that belong to the royal family.

The gold mines are controlled by the king and are not allowed to be traded or even worked on by contractors or other interested parties. The king doesn’t want any of the gold being stolen or given out as a finder’s fee. The gold is mined entirely with slaves and sorcerer guards. The sorcerers have found numerous uses for a detect gold spell. They use it on slaves to ensure no thefts occur, On a rich vein to see the best way to dig, and to find out if a vein is done. The sorcerers have plenty of spells for their most important duty, preventing riots and revolts. The conditions for the slaves are brutal, but after five years they are freed and allowed to work for one year in the mines earning 3% of what they find.  Once a slave no longer works in the mines a geas/quest is cast upon them to prevent discussion about activities in the mines. Most slaves do not make it through those five or six years dying from exhaustion, a broken limb, or poisonous gas. Very few clerics are posted to help the slaves.

Yuettencal has the largest slave market east of Xoria. Any type of slave can be purchased here, but mostly the ugly races such as Orcs, Goblins, and Gnolls. Very few Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings are up for sale. Their kind does not usually commit crimes or go to war. Imprisonment is a much worse punishment for a race that is close to immortality as well. Suicide is a common cause of death for the enslaved elder races. The slave market is located in the west of the city in a plaza known as the Merchant’s Domain.

The selling of sentient flesh at the slave market fostered a thriving market for animals as well. Alongside mundane animals many exotic pets or mounts can be purchased in D Park, north of the Merchant’s Domain. Venders sell griffons, hippogriffs, and pegasi for riding; moon rats and pseudodragons for familiars; and trainers and caretakers for teaching how to ride and take care of all the beasts. Rarer animals for sale include dragons, nightmares, and pretty much any mystical animal, but only with a special permit. Dragons are usually only sold as eggs. Live ones are considered too dangerous to be kept inside the city and must be sold outside the walls.

Yuettencal is ruled by King Staynard. He recently took the crown upon his father’s assassination. Prior to becoming the royal family, Staynard’s ancestors discovered the gold mines and slowly grew to a position of power. They were crowned as royalty by the priesthood of Zeus when the first King Gollard married a nymph. King Staynard is inexperienced and afraid of the power that comes with his position. He relies heavily on his advisers and the counsel of his family’s silver dragon mount, Kinderax. The people of Aractrash believe that Staynard’s father, Ballard, was assassinated on the order of the Xorians. Staynard plans to join the Second Alliance and enter the War, but he fears he may regret this decision.

A particular type of spider lives in Yuettencal called Redwire Spiders. Their webs are red and cannot be cut by a sword without a few seconds of vigorous sawing. The spiders are domesticated and trained to spin their webs in long lines of thread. This red cloth is very comfortable and has the strength of studded leather armor. The spider is the crest of the king, is on the Aractrashan flag, and is worn on the armor of the Aractrashan soldiery. The Redwire cloth is highly valued by civilians in the city and by foreigners, but the king keeps a monopoly on it and does not sell it to anyone. A black market does exist, surviving off of Redwire cloth taken from bribed or mugged soldiers. The punishment for losing or selling Redwire cloth is severe, 50 lashes and expulsion from Yuettencal.

-GoCorral

Tetalya

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Tetalya is a jungle city with a population of about 45,000 along the Aractrash River’s exit from the Aractrashan Jungle. The city is a center for alchemy of all kinds. Magic potions and nonmagical salves are made in great quantities in Tetalya. The surrounding trees, plants, and animals have many different type of spell components that fetchers bring in to the city to be harvested for spell components. The more rare and dangerous specimens such as Basilisks are processed in a cordoned area just outside of the city.

Tetalya has a popular battle arena that attracts visitors from other cities. Many husbands have lost their life savings and gone home to the verbal abuse of their wives while others have moved up to positions of insane wealth. The arena is special in that it does not hire new people or use beasts except for its most special combats on holidays. The arena has rotated through a set of twelve different combatants since its formation. The fighters rarely leave their cush arena position thanks to the large cut of the betting, luxurious living space, and the best food that can be given to them. The twelve combatants currently active in the arena are: Hargoth the Axe Rager, Dylan the Sword Ranger, Julian the Drunk Monk, Shara the Half-elf Grappler, Tira the Knife Woman, Organ the Buffing, Sheera the Elven Archer, Tjakres the Githzerai with Magic Arms, Batinhen the Dwarven Paladin, Constance the Dwarven Defender, Kuvintal the Rapier using Acrobat, and Bats the Halfling with a Hooked Hammer and Net. There are contingent spells put on the combatants to prevent them from dying. All of them are best buddies and spend most of their off time together.

The biggest production of alchemy ingredients is done at Grandma Sullust’s Garden in Tetalya. She has a virtual monopoly in the East on magical plants that can be grown domestically. She sells some of her crop in the city itself but most goes to the druid’s guild in Lordodo. They use the plants they can to make salves and the rest are exported mostly to Crafterton to make alchemist’s fire and other offensive chemicals.

The Druidic Healing Guild of Lordodo has an office in Tetalya. This office is the organizational center of Tetalya, filling the basic function a lord’s castle would in a feudal town. The druids do pay fealty to King Staynard of Aractrash and defer to his authority when he is in the city. The druids increased sanitation to levels that some of the public think is unnecessary, while the rest think the clean streets are the best thing since bread. The guild built many public parks and improved the fire prevention service. Overall the druids have drstically improved the standard of living within the city while restricting most of the city’s more dirty medieval traditions.

-GoCorral

Sheerzen

Two notes about this city. First, it uses a numbering city in parenthesis to indicate which floor the current description applies to. Second, the concept for the history of this city was created in part by a member of my D&D group. His screen name is Zigfried and he deserves a lot of credit for developing the unique flavor of Sheerzen’s history.

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Sheerzen is a town of about 10,000 people built in the middle of Apollo’s Plains. The town was constructed by an early group of heroes, Brelfagar the Dwarven fighter, Shoree the Human paladin, Sunrise the Elven wizard, and Jeffery the Human cleric of the Muses. This adventuring party known as the Bronze Chords served their bronze dragon master, Rilopenaril. There are not many useful resources in the area around Sheerzen besides good soil. The city is not along any large rivers or trade routes. Earthquakes routinely rock the area destroying most buildings and any tunnels that would provide a connection to the Underdark. Sheerzen was constructed in this location precisely because it had little to offer. With no resources, the Bronze Chords hoped it would always be a peaceful city.

Sheerzen has only one building, a gigantic castle built atop an even bigger hill and surrounded by a moat. The keep rises about one thousand feet into the air. At the center of the tower is an empty space about forty feet across. This area is called the levitation elevator and bestows the power of levitation on all those who come into it.  There are stairs, but most residents use the elevator. The elevator does not reach the top six levels of the fortress. A magical waterfall goes through the center of this great empty space and provides all the water the citizens need. The waterfall disappears into a magical hole in the ground floor to prevent flooding.

The whole structure is reinforced with adamantine and lead making it impossible to teleport or scry into. The first five (1-5) levels of the castle are entirely defensive except for a park at the base of the elevator. These defensive levels are a show of force to visitors and an actual precaution against those who might attack Sheerzen. Hundreds of arrow slits look out on Apollo’s Hill making sure no army can approach within a mile without being shot at by ballistae, bows, crossbows, slings, catapults, and magical defenses.

The next dozen or so (6-19) levels are mostly commercial, so that tourists and visitors to the city need not go too far to find what they are looking for. The town sells commemorative items with a specialty in complex imitation weapons and armor for children to wear. Many famous painters, sculptors, and architects are also from Sheerzen and copies of their works are sold in numerous shops. The hotels and restaurants of the city are also on the commercial levels.

The next few (20-26) levels are where crafting takes place. These levels although unattractive need to be low in the fortress so that resources would not have to be taken all the way up to the top of the building. Sheerzen has a large available space for making items, but not enough people using that space. It would be a rival to Crafterton if it shared a similar central location in The Magical Lands. The work place and tools are free to use for all, but craftsmen must provide their own materials. A popular recreation for the people of Sheerzen is to see who can make the best of a particular type of item or how fast someone can make such an item.

The next couple dozen (27-93) levels are mostly residential with parks on some levels surrounding the elevator. A few hotels, restaurants, and other small businesses take up shop on these levels as well, but it is against an unenforced law for them to do so. These levels are considered claustrophobic by the people who do not live in Sheerzen because of the low ceiling on the wide boulevards.

The next (94) level of Sheerzen contains the city’s legal facilities, jail, and police headquarters. The police headquarters is on the inner circle with the jail in the middle circle and the courts and lawyer’s offices on the outer circle. The town has no punishments for which the jail is required. The jail is used to house criminals before their trials. Sheerzen’s legal code is regular except that during a siege or war almost every punishment is death. Capital punishment is always carried out by tossing the convict off the roof of the fortress. The landing spot is surrounded by a railing to prevent an innocent person being crushed by any falling felons.

The next three (95-97) levels are for the administrative offices of the town. The treasury of Sheerzen is on the 95th level with an extensive guard contingent to prevent theft. The bureaucrats are on these levels as well as the library and hospital. The elevator does not reach these levels. Permission from Sheriff Dratles or another person of similar importance is required to access the staircase to the 95th floor and above.

The 98th level is entirely empty except for the stairs going up and down directly across from each other. Most people upon entering this room for the first time find it unsettling due to the low ceiling. Some with weaker constitutions have even thrown up when walking across it. The rumor is that it serves some purpose for the defense of the city, but no one really knows.

The 99th and 100th levels make up the palace of the large royal family. The royals are descended from the Bronze Chords. Rilopenaril repeatedly seeded the adventurers’ descendants with his own bloodline ensuring that any member of the Sheerzen royal family would have some draconic features. Additionally all of the royal family members have some command over arcane power due to their draconic descent. Rilopenaril encouraged the development of this arcane power in the royal family and eventually he became obsessed with it. The dragon organized magical duels for his children to determine who was the best sorcerer. This tradition expanded until the successor to the current monarch was chosen by the winner of a series of lethal duels between the bronze dragon’s grandchildren.

Danar the Beastslayer was the most significant king in Sheerzen’s history. Exiled at an early age, Danar returned to the city after training for many years in the swamp that now bears his name. Danar slew his elder brother, Einhart, in a magical duel and claimed the crown. He joined the other heroes of the age in their fight against the tyranny of the dragons. Danar helped defeat his own ancestors, Rilopenaril and the dragon’s twin sister, Langudina. The mortal warrior locked away the dragon monarchs in the Orbs of Dragonkind, becoming the guardian of the Red Orb.

Rilopenaril left Sheerzen after his sister was locked away in the Bronze Orb. He guards the Bronze Orb at a hidden location close to the tower city. The conditions of Rilopenaril’s magical bondage allow him to visit Sheerzen for the coronations, funerals, and weddings of each successive monarch. The current king and queen are Dominiic and Freya. Forty years ago the Xorian army marched upon Sheerzen. The king and queen surrendered the city to Xoria on the condition that their line and traditions be allowed to continue. King Dominiic and Queen Freya elected to keep their mortality, but do not judge the decisions their subjects make. Under these conditions, a mortal and Dragovinian aristocracy have peacefully mixed in Sheerzen.

Sheerzen was built to be a haven for artisans and craftsmen to practice their art without worrying about their income. The city’s enchantments allow the monarchy to easily provide patronage for hundreds of artists. To defend the city the army is outfitted with the best weapons available and focuses on learning defensive battle strategies without losing a single man to the opponent’s weapons. Because the fortress creates its own food and water within it is always prepared for a siege. The magical nature of the monarchy extends to the army where mages are trained to dispel and counter enemy battle mages.

Danar has recently returned to life due to the destruction of the Red Orb. The magic that orchestrated his return will only allow him to rest once Invernix is defeated once more. Danar decided to delay his confrontation with Invernix due to the numerous other contemporary threats to the people of Cimmeria. Once he feels the world is safe enough, Danar will confront Invernix once more.

-GoCorral

Shalerton

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Shalerton is a city-state with a population of about 50,000 people. Herds of sheep form the economic backbone of the city. Close to a million sheep live around Shalerton and there are enough pastures and vegetable farms to provide for a healthy diet for the livestock and the people of the city-state. The town itself is small for the number of citizens in the city-state. The necessary businesses like smiths, tailors, and mills occupy the majority of the real estate within the town walls. Government buildings such as courthouses, fire stations, police headquarters, the jail, and city hall fill out the rest of the space in town. There are almost no permanent residences separate from a person’s place of work. With so few residences, hotels and inns compete ruthlessly for customers. The three main hotels are: the Pot of Comfort, run by Jusilia, a mother goose character; the Traveler’s Home, run by Hardigan, a big fat bearded man; and the Yurgastraplax, run by Tgfjklwharydfbi the foreigner, whose nickname is Bill.

Only about 6,000 people live inside the town’s walls working in businesses or for Shalerton’s government. The government workers are part of a bureaucracy that is headed by the police chief. Lieutenant Hunter is a large man who controls everything in the town. Extra taxes usually go in his pockets instead of to the town treasury. He unofficially appoints all the bureaucrats, judges, and police in the entire town. He inherited this role from his father and his father before that. While the town is effectively a monarchy, the Lieutenant family (yes, their first name is Lieutenant and it is their family’s surname) has always stayed away from officially declaring their power.

In the past only police were allowed to carry weapons within the city. Spell books and anything else that could be magically offensive were not allowed inside the town walls as well. If somebody did wish to bring in a weapon special permission had to be gained from Lieutenant Hunter directly. Those who were granted weapons were made members of a special operations police force that occasionally acted as spies or secret police. Shalerton’s participation in the Second Alliance War has caused a shift in this policy. The general weapons ban has been lifted as Lieutenant Hunter believes an armed populace will assist in the defense of the city alongside the police force.

The large police force ensures that crime is close to nonexistent in Shalerton. Theft, murder, and rape are rare and punished severely soon after the crimes are committed. This reduced crime rate and swift response is not just because of the restrictions on weapons but also due to Lieutenant Hunter’s almost complete monopoly on magical power in Shalerton. All magic users must join the special operations force and the practicing of any simple magic within the city is highly regulated. Some magic users chafe under these rules, but Lieutenant Hunter does his best to keep his special operations force happy with gifts and the occasional party in their honor. Using these bribes, Hunter is able to keep the magic users power in his court. With liberal application of divination magicks he is able to predict most crimes before they happen and discover the culprit of those that do fly in under the radar.

Lieutenant Hunter also plays a hand in the town’s economic system through price controls. His grandfather started this practice and he continues it. Price controls on most commodities eliminate excessive time spent on haggling allowing the people of Shalerton to spend more time at work or at home. The price controls also serve to protect both producers and consumers depending on market conditions. Initially the populace resisted these controls and there was even a revolt, but since that time the citizens of Shalerton have grown to love the predictability the price controls bring. Few would dream of returning to the old unregulated system.

In recent years Shalerton joined the Second Alliance against Xoria, not out of good hearted nature, but because Lieutenant Hunter feared his town might be one of the first on the Xorian invasion route. Unfortunately, due to Shalerton’s history of restricting the public’s access to weapons the people of Shalerton have little real martial experience. Their troops were kept out of the early battles of the war to train and were not present at the Siege of Phoenix. Training continues under the eyes of Junai and Gradorian and soon the Shalerton militia will be a formidable force indeed.

-GoCorral

Shalemstead

ShalemsteadShalemstead is a small town of 3,500 people along the eastern bank of the Isdmir River. The town is growing due to its proximity to the Elves of Valor’s Forest. The Elves do not allow any non-fairy creature to stay in the forest, so they must find shelter in the Human settlement nearby or camp in the much less hospitable outdoors. Many of the citizens of Shalemstead have grown to rely on this tourism and their reputation for hospitality is well known throughout Cimmeria.

Shalemstead is self-sufficient and requires a lot of farmers to provide for its own citizens as well as the many tourist and trade caravans that pass through on the way to meet the Valor’s Forest Elves. The necessary professions in town are monopolized by guilds that are controlled by the descendants of the original settlers of Shalemstead. The guilds are named after their founding family member. All the blacksmiths belong to the Boris guild, all the innkeepers belong to the Shord guild, all the wainwrights belong to the Tama guild, etc.

The town’s government is solely composed of the guild leaders. This council of elders meets every three months to make important decisions for Shalemstead. They contribute all the funds for any necessary expenses such as paying guards, maintaining roads, or building bridges. These funds are in turn collected through guild dues, tariffs, and the personal profits that the guild leaders make on their own operations in town.

Many years ago the Shalemstead was attacked by a cabal of vampires. A fire started during the attack and dozens of people were injured or killed. The town’s only cleric at the time, George, also perished in the attack, but the small shrine he had built remained untouched by the flames. As the town has grown a new and larger temple was built. Regardless, many of the townsfolk continue to pay homage to the gods at this small shrine in George’s honor.

Shalemstead has joined the Second Alliance to fight the Xorians. The town cannot contribute much in the way of manpower, but their trade connections with the Elves have proved valuable.

-GoCorral

Semanarie

Semanarie

Semanarie was founded by a group of druids who wanted to create an ideal lifestyle free of the first part of modern civilization, buildings. It was believed that without buildings people would live in peace with no worries beyond food and social interaction. The innovative plan worked. A city of 500 people was founded and quickly grew to 6,000 citizens through immigration and a druid assisted birthrate.

Semanarie was ruled by the original druids who founded it. Due to the ageless nature of practiced druids these ancient men and women still seemed to be in healthy condition until late in their lives. They organized the city’s foreign affairs and settled all disputes between the citizens. The druids ruled peacefully and the most common punishment they handed out was simple expulsion from the community.

The Semanarians had unique and clever ways of overcoming the difficulties of not having any buildings. A simple tree for protection from rain or a modification of Tenser’s Floating Disk. Most cooking used exclusively open fires instead of stoves or ovens with porridge replacing bread as the staple food. Most of the populace learned some form of magic in order to protect themselves from the elements. The head druids controlled the weather so that no huge disasters ever threatened the citizens.

Semanarie was well known as the greatest gathering of culinary excellence outside of the royal kitchens of Greece, Xoria, and Persia. Goats, sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, horses, and even rocs were reared for meat, eggs, dairy, and transportation. Wheat, barley, rice, rye, oats, and alfalfa were cultivated to feed the livestock, and to make into flour. The farmers brewed beer and wine for their tables and to sell. A variety of fruits were grown in natural rowless orchards in Bigby’s Forest. Every vegetable imaginable was grown with magical help from the druids. The only thing that Semanarie truly lacked was spices, but the druids supplemented that section of cooking by summoning spices from the inner planes.

With all these ingredients gathered in one place it is no wonder that Semanarie had some of the best cooks in the world. The revered chef, Geeardo, set up an academy in Semanarie for the training of chefs and it was the site of some of the largest structures in Semanarie, outdoor ovens. Would-be chefs came from around the world to learn the art of gourmet cooking, but many left after finding out that the only shelter they will have is a four foot pile of bricks. Geeardo died without naming a successor. He said his successor would be revealed when the next perfect chef cooked the perfect meal using perfect ingredients. Many have tried to do so by emulating Geeardo’s style but none have succeeded.

Unfortunately this little paradise was horribly changed by Xoria’s invasion. In the past the druid council had warded off raiding parties using their own magical powers, but they had never enacted a heavy defense system because they believed there was nothing they had of value for an invading force. King Jevaninada I attacked because he saw in the Semanarians the potential for a druidic battalion in his army. He, Queen Anajakaze, and their three generals defeated the druids in single combat while the townspeople were subdued by the well-trained Xorian army. The druids were imprisoned separately. King Jevaninada brainwashed one of them to serve him. This druid aided the Xorians during the First Alliance War, but died at the Battle of Makotako.

King Jevaninada I attempted to convert Semanarie’s druidic culture to that of a traditional town. Against the ethos of Semanarie adminstrative buildings were put in place. District Commissioner Thron was sent to the town to impose order. His brutal rule incensed the people of Semanarie to rise up in rebellion during the First Alliance War. They fought alongside the other Alliance members and lost. Those who did not return to Semanarie drifted into Bigby’s Forest to live with the elves there. These people formed the core of the Rebellion to dethrone King Jevaninada II.

-GoCorral

Satronwook

Satronwook

Satronwook is the party capital of the world. It’s like a festival there every day of the month. Pigs, goats, sheep, and sometimes other people are torn apart by the citizens in Bacchanal rites and eaten. If you ever wanted to reckless fun without a thought for tomorrow this is the place.

Even with such a wild reputation Satronwook isn’t without a police force, albeit an untraditional one. Instead of a trained militia of humans the town is policed by a large pack of blink dogs that take their orders directly from Panda Traks. The dogs make their living through the confiscation of criminal property and either selling or using it. They were brought along with Dionysus’ entourage when Pan founded the city and were abandoned when the drunken pair left. Satronwook has no army or police force besides the dogs making them an integral and needed part of the city.

Satronwook has a population of about 34,000 and is inhabited mostly by Wild Elves, Humans, and Halflings. Most of the other races have moral codes that prohibit the kind of behavior that goes on in the city. Fey also walk openly here making up a significant minority of the population.

The star attraction of Satronwook is the fountain in the center of the city. It was built by Dionysus’s good buddy, Pan, when he first came to Satronwook. The fountain spurts out alcohol of some kind, but the specific substance coming out changes randomly each day. It can be anything from wine coolers to rubbing alcohol, but whatever it is there’s always somebody drinking it. The alcohol disappears if it is put into any container, so if one wants to get some of it you must do so directly from the source.

The Inn of Lost Souls is the biggest tavern in the whole city. It’s front door is right outside of the fountain and the alcohol of the day is entirely free. The annual drinking contest, Baradera, is held there. The spirits in the inn are sold at a reduced cost compared to the rest of the city because, Edgar, the owner, also owns his own vineyard, winery, barley fields, and brewery.

The leadership of Satronwook has been using the same system since Pan blessed the city. The goat-footed god started the Baradera at the Inn of Lost Souls. The winner is named ruler and Panda of the city, for Pan and for the animal which lives nearby. The Panda wears the Crown of the Panda which gives them the skills and knowledge of how to work the government system and make profitable agreements with other cities and countries if necessary. The crown also gives the wearer the form of a panda and lets him speak the animal’s language. The crown is worn for a year and then falls off. Any past Pandas retain their new form and a golden band of fur is still seen around their foreheads where the crown was placed. The golden band is seen as a sign of honor, but any past Pandas may no longer participate in the Baradera. Some go back to their old lives while some live in the Panda Garden inside the city with animal pandas and past Pandas.

The Panda also gets an administrative power that they use once during their inauguration. They can add or subtract one law from the city’s legal code. The most often law to flip-flop is prostitution, but some things such as littering and eating lotus plants have also changed frequently. The cardinal laws such as stealing, murder, and rape have stayed the same since their creation. Alcohol was only outlawed once, but it was assumed to be a joke even by the Panda who did so. The current Panda of Satronwook is Panda Traks. His story is typical of past Pandas, a Dwarven Drunken Master who won through his skill and fortitude. His rule change was to disallow prostitution again. The blink dogs enforce his decrees just as they have done for all of the Pandas in the past.

The city does export commodities, but the government of it does not. Given how the leadership of Satronwook is acquired and the culture of freedom, the government stays out of the affairs of the citizens with the exception of foreign affairs and controlling crime. The city exports are the many varieties of fruits grown there and the huge amount of booze. The city imports animals, animal products, metals, and stone.

-GoCorral

Restnor’s Point

I talk a little bit about distilled beverages in this entry as if they are a secret that no one knows about. While that’s not true now, it was for when my campaign is set! The events in Cimmeria take place 400BCE and the first alcoholic beverage wasn’t distilled (in reality) until 1200CE, 1600 years later.

Restnor's Point

Restnor’s Point is a small mining town with a population of about 11,000 people. Restnor’s Point is named after its original founder Restnor the Third. He was a schizophrenic ranger who enjoyed exploring the northern wilderness along the Terror Mountains. In his travels he found a waterfall with a gold mine behind it. He returned to his hometown of Dalleer and made a large bet that there was a large treasure behind the waterfall. The man he made the bet with accepted thinking that Restnor had imagined the gold deposit during a schizophrenic episode. The man lost the bet and Restnor used the wager to set up a mining operation by the waterfall for people with socially devastating disabilities like his own. Thus, Restnor’s Point has become a place where the majority of the population have physical or mental disabilities.

Hephaestus has risen to a place above Zeus in the pantheon of Restnor’s Point. His lame leg and status as the god of mining make him at fitting patron deity for the city. Hephaestus has blessed the town and given them astoundingly high and thick walls made of adamantite. The walls are 32 feet high and 10 feet thick. No known weapon has been able to get through the town’s gates when they are closed except a dragon’s breath or a disintegrate spell, and even then only after repeated attempts.

West of Talon’s Waterfall is a large alcove bored out of the mountain wall. This alcove is used for Restnor’s Point’s temple. It is devoted largely to Hephaestus, the town’s patron god, but also to Apollo, for he is the god of healing, and to Hades, for his dominion over wealth. These three are the only who have statues in the temple, but the largest altar is still reserved for Zeus and the rest of the pantheon. The High Priestess of the temple, Titandra the blind seer, is the spiritual leader as well as the actual leader of Restnor’s Point, although she spends most of her time in Bradel Fields aiding the Alliance’s efforts against the Xorians. The only tax in the city is a tithe, but it is also considerably larger than most tithes. This tithe is used for all typical religious practices and for secular secular services that the town needs, such as paying for food and textiles from downriver.

The town exports the products from their divinely blessed mine for their economic livelihood. They sell stone, jewels, iron, bronze, copper, tin, mithral, and adamantite. They also produce cold iron, alchemical silver, normal silver, and gold. The town has grown to a position of wealth, but not arrogance. It has no standing army and has not increased prices even though they have a virtual monopoly on some metals.

The town does have a few barley and potato farms, along with a banana orchard that is magically enchanted to survive the freezing temperatures during the winter. These crops are not used for food except in the most dire of circumstances. They are more frequently used to make beer and an exotic banana wine. Dwarven alchemists in Restnor’s Point have also perfected a process where the alcohol of many different beverages is combined to make the hardest liquor anyone has ever laid eyes on. This, “vodka,” as they have named it, is exported throughout the known world and the secret to its making is guarded vehemently by the very few brewers who have access to it.

The mine of the town has its entrance behind the waterfall, known as Talon’s Waterfall, at the start of Talon’s Bed. Every morning the majority of the town’s adult populace gathers in the temple to the west of the waterfall for a blessing before going into the mine. Because the people of the town have worked for so long in the same place they have acquired many magical digging and appraising tools to help them in the excavation of ore. There are so many of these tools that they could be worth quite a  bit more than the metals, jewels, and stones they are used to mine, if one could find a buyer for them.

Restnor’s Point is also home to some of the best falconers in the entire world. They have bred normal birds of prey with other magical varieties to make a super hunting machine that still acts docile around humanoids. This new species has been dubbed the Asestaro. One of these creatures can be purchased at maturity for 20,000 gold pieces, at a young age for 15,000, and in the egg for 10,000. The bonding process between the new owner and the animal is amazingly only one week. At that point the Asestaro will do anything it has been trained to do for the owner.

In recent years Restnor’s Point has joined the Second Alliance against Xoria. The town cannot contribute much in the way of troops, but the wealth and resources produced by the town’s mine have proved useful for the Alliance. Additionally, Titandra receives prophetic visions of the future that have occasionally aided in the conflict with the Xorian Empire.

-GoCorral

Petar

Petar

Petar is home to about 110,000 people and is the seat of Xorian military power. The main contingent of Xoria’s army was stationed in Petar during peace time to prevent incursions from the nearby Magical Lands. The city is walled and has a large keep at the center if the outer fortifications are breached during an attack. In the case of a siege non-perishable food is stockpiled in the basement of the keep and a large staff of clerics and mages are kept in reserve to act as an infirmary and food creating service for the army and the civilians of the city.

The economy of Petar is heavily focused on supplying the army. All blacksmiths have a quota of goods they must sell to the army every month. The mages guild has so many students of battle magic that a few renegade war mages from the war mage academy in Greshen Dale have set up an illegal teaching outpost in the city. Druids in the city are coerced into using magic to enhance crop growth to feed the troops. Everybody who does not send some of their products to the Xorian military must serve a year service in the army every five years.

Almost all of the farms of Petar grow wheat and other staple crops. The military command wants all arable land to be used as best it can. A few fruits and vegetables are cultivated to provide a balanced diet for strong troops, but the populace is always complaining that there isn’t enough. Cattle and sheep are raised on the exhausted land to get wool, dairy, leather, and meat. The manure from all the animals refertilizes the tired land and every few years the grazing land will be switched with the farm land.

Petar is strategically located atop a hill in the middle of a wide plain. It is gossiped that this is the spot where Hades’ head hit the roof of Erebus when Zeus told him the conditions of his marriage to Persephone. Four months of companionship out of every year would seem ridiculous to any man, let alone an Olympian. The hill allows the Xorian army to see any approaching army for miles and gives them a defensible position once that attacking army is within bow range.

The government of Petar is headed by Duke Delor who is subordinate to King Jevaninada. The Duke does most of the administrative work and takes his orders from Commanding General Barejando when he is present in the city. Barejando is in charge of all Xorian infantry battalions on offense and defense and Petar’s police force. He is personally responsible for the defense and safety of Petar. The general has his hands full planning invasions, rooting out Persian, Rebel, and Cimmerian spies, and maintaining order. With so much to do it’s easy to see why Barejando leaves management of the civilian population of Petar to Delor.

Duke Delor is also the Dragovinian religious leader in Petar. He manages the blood drinking ceremony every week in the city’s main cathedral. Delor personally created many of the Dragovinian beasts that watch the people of Petar for any possibly seditious activity. In his free time he enjoys spying on the citizens, and if he’s lucky, ripping a suspected Rebel’s throat out. When Delor tours the city he always seems to find suspected rebels, and suspects are always found guilty.

One of the most amazing things in Petar that has most likely led to the rumor of Hades’ head bump is the extraordinarily large gold deposit beneath the hill. The gold vein was discovered many years ago by one of the kings of Xoria himself. While surveying the digging of one of Petar’s many wells the king’s sharp eyes picked out the glint of gold at the bottom of the well. That well has since turned into a mine shaft where most of the money of Xoria is minted and then taken to the current king, Jevaninada II.

-GoCorral

Nox

Nox

Nox, the jewel of Xoria, boasts a population of over 200,000 people and the largest collection of magical artifacts. The artifacts are kept at the Museum of Power in the center of the metropolis. Because of the destructive potential of these various weapons, visitors are only admitted to the museum by petitioning King Jevaninada II himself. The collection includes the Sanguine Belt of the Night Mother, the Mace of Slaughter, the Invisible Ring of Cats, the Crescent of Wrath, the Fork of Horripilation, the Ten League Boots, the Face of Gods, the Ring of Impervious, the Prismatic Blade, Sin’s Mask, the Shadowstaff, the Staff of Not, the Ring of Draconic Wizardry, the Orb of Omniscience, a Hammer of Thunderbolts, a Deck of Many Things, and a Staff of the Magi. A few more items would be in the stockpile if the king himself was not using them. The possible depredations these items could commit led to the gods themselves granting aid for their protection. Hades allowed the resurrection of Argus from the dead if he would keep his hundred eyes upon all the artifacts in the Museum of Power. The museum is one large hall with Argus standing in the center of it, eternally watching and guarding the items to make sure none of them go missing.

Nox is the capital of Xoria and is ruled by King Jevaninada II, patriarch of the Xorian royal family. While Jevaninada II’s official duties include the administration of  Nox, he is far too busy with the ongoing war between Xoria and the Alliance in Eastern Cimmeria. Daily tasks in the city are delegated to Firotoshan, one of Jevaninada’s friends from childhood with a great head for numbers. Nearly every day he can be seen leading some public works project to benefit the upper class, executing criminals, or welcoming new Dragovinians into the fold. To many citizens, Firotoshan is the symbol of Xorian oppression. The Rebels have tried to assassinate him several times, but failed in all attempts. Firotoshan was the one who suggested the practice of using Dragovinian beasts to monitor the commoners and crush dissent.

The Kingdom of Xoria began its true expansion under King Demotinira. He conquered the cities of Jeutontic and Cecilia and setup the successful colony of Petar. When Demotinira died he left his throne to his eldest child, his daughter, Tarigananata. His son, Jevaninada I, rallied the nobles of Xoria against Tarigananata, claiming that she was possessed by a demon. She was exiled and Jevaninada I took control of Xoria and Nox. He continued the expansion of the Kingdom, taking over Dradalden, Colchis, Makotako, and Semanarie. As his invasions threatened more and more of Cimmeria, the First Alliance was formed by Princess Tarigananata to reverse Jevaninada’s actions. The First Alliance took several cities and killed Jevaninada I. Jevaninada’s Amazon Queen Anajakaze took control of the growing Empire and ultimately crushed the Alliance.

During the last months of the war, Anajakaze gave birth to Jevaninada II, the son and king of Xoria. Until he turned eighteen and could take the throne, Anajakaze ruled as his regent. She continued the relentless expansion, taking over Gazeara, Danar’s Swamp, Crafterton, and Sheerzen. Anajakaze implemented a matriarchal system of leadership, placing women in positions of power to undermine the traditional patriarchy. Jevaninada II resented this system and wished to return to the old ways. Anajakaze, aware of this, did not surrender her regency when Jevaninada II came of age.

Both Jevaninada II and Anajakaze were in for a surprise. After months of insisting that his mother step down, Jevaninada II attacked her in an attempt to force her compliance with his wishes. Their battle was interrupted by the arrival of Blendegad the Reaper, vampiric red dragon. Blendegad slew the queen and drank the blood of Jevaninada II. The vampiric dragon blood mixed with Jevaninada II’s divine royal blood creating a new form of vampire, Dragovinians.

A new religion was created for Xoria, Dragoviniysm. The deity, Blendegad, and his avatar, Jevaninada II, asked for service from their subjects and the immortal status of the Dragovinian was gifted to the faithful. The matriarchal reforms were reversed. Jevaninada II spent twenty years securing his power within his own Kingdom. Then in 400 BCE, Jevaninada II mobilized the Xorian people to attack the Second Alliance city of Phoenix. After several years, the city was taken. Jevaninada II splits his time between directing activities on the front and performing his duties in Castle Xoria at Nox.

Originally all the buildings of Nox were contained within the city walls, but more and more people immigrated to the city over the years. Now less than twenty percent of Nox’s population is actually protected by the walls. The rest of the city sprawls outwards to the west and north. After a large fire within the walls decades ago the city was rebuilt with orderly straight streets. The fire also allowed the nobles of Xoria to cluster their estates around Castle Xoria in the center of Nox.

Although Castle Xoria is not as physically strong as Colchis Castle or Sheerzen, it does have the advantage of being a complete maze. Most of the inner passageways are only two or three feet across. Guests often get lost if not accompanied by a member of the castle staff or a noble. There was even one noble who was thought dead for ten years who resurfaced in the castle. He had lost his way and survived on rat flesh and moss for a decade. The problem is so severe that some visitors to the castle are sure that magic is at work.

The nearby wood is called the King’s Copse because only Jevaninada II and his guests are allowed within the forest’s borders. He goes there occasionally on hunting trips, but the copse is used for nothing else. Any who venture into it are never seen again. The wood that Nox uses for fires, buildings, and furniture is acquired from the thin Royal Forest to the northwest or imported from Makotako.

Nox’s main export is food. In the past this was sent to Persia, Scythia, or the rest of Cimmeria. With the war underway, all excess food is sent to the front to feed the troops. This is especially necessary due to the shortage within Phoenix due to the prolonged siege. Nox continues to import luxury items for the many nobles in the city. With the explosion of Dragovinianism among the nobles, rare bloods are now in high demand.

The high concentration of Dragovinians in Nox has also put a great deal of pressure upon the common people in the capital city. The nobles and others gifted with Dragovinian status don’t spend all their time drinking exotic imported blood. Usually they gain their sustenance from the weekly ceremony where citizens are forced to gather in Dragovinian churches to “donate.” Bloodletting is spread throughout the populace to prevent injury or death, but the practice remains demeaning. Coupled with the everyday depridations of the Dragovinians due to their naturally evil disposition and the people of Nox are ready to revolt. The Dragovinian beasts prevent direct action within the city, so many people have fled the city to join the Rebellion in Bigby’s Forest.

-GoCorral