Saturday, March 26, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: Cities and Towns of Thebos

The country of Thebos is home to numerous cities and towns varying in size from large urban centers like Grand Oryx, Ptoleph and Medea's Gate down to the the many smaller cities and towns and even smaller hamlets.  The cities and towns described below are primarily located in the anvil but a few are on the outer fringes of the region.

Chapoi – This is a town south of Ptoleph on the main trade road which is near the Forger’s Runnel River.  To the west of Chapoi, a two days hike, the Wild Moon tribe of goblins hold sway.

Demeteros – A small village south of Ptoleph on the main trade road. Demeteros is one day to the north of Medea’s Gate.  It is also where one of the most powerful known wizards in all of the Anvil resides in his wizard’s tower outside of town – Ornaskar the Intrepid.

Herarii – This small town between Medea’s Gate and Limus Town is where one of the Oracles to the Theban gods is located.  It is near the pass at Hell’s Peak and the giant statue of Hephaestus is visible off in the distance from the town.  Hera is the patron goddess of Herarii and an ornate tower at the top of a hill at the edge of town is the location of the venerated Oracle of Herarii and is a site which is regularly visited by pilgrims seeking the wisdom of the Oracle. The Feral Daughter is the local Inn which is noted for its wild game dishes.  People regularly make the trip to Herarii in order to consult the Oracle and dine at this fine establishment.

Grand Oryx – Soot darkened Grand Oryx, the City of the Gods is the Capital of the City State of Thebos and the largest city to be found on the volcanic plateau.  Its inhabitants live under the dour countenance of its colossal image of Hephaestus, the smith god and patron of this the most advanced city in all the lands of Averlorn.  This is the Victorian London of the setting. She has public transport, indoor plumbing (especially baths), and several districts of town that have a local flair related to the race that dwells there. As grand as it sounds, it's actually a nasty place with filthy air, massive poverty, and other dystopian elements. A nice place to visit as they say and an even nicer place to have your purse lifted. You will never find a place more inundated with "scum and villainy." The senate is working hard though to clean the place up.

There are ten guilds in Grand Oryx which have over the years, proven themselves to be committed to the betterment of the Theban way of life and the common good. Thus, they have been given charters granting them considerable political power. They are very competitive with one another and vie for control over the eight boroughs of the great city. Since no guild may control more than one borough and there are only eight available, two guilds are left without a territory and will typically form a loose alliance.  The Oryxian guilds have over the years constructed massive sprawling fortified complexes containing their guild halls and living quarters within each borough under their control. Most of the Guild boroughs in Grand Oryx are well run, safe and very accommodating.

The City of Grand Oryx takes pride in its military prowess and has managed to conquer the surrounding regions and bring them into the fold of the kindom of Thebos.  The true military power of Grand Oryx arose with the invention of the Dragonship.  This technological development meant that they could deploy and supply an expeditionary force that could by dint of numbers, crumble the mighty hoplite formations of Thebos and even subjugate the far away lesser kingdoms of the trench, the Pangaeus and other realms within their empire. 

The Theban military makes good use of the condemned supplied to them by the Surgeons of Hecate.  These plate-wearing monsters are automatons of superior construction and are powerful, remorseless combatants.  They are used in the Grand Oryx navy as foot soldiers and as elite shock troops.  Most of the Oryxian Dragonships also have a pair of them and a handler, to work around the cooker in heat that would kill most mortals.  The cavalry of Grand Oryx is reputed to be the best in the land, drawing upon the horsemen and superb riding skills of the plainsmen of the Pangaus for the bulk of their numbers. They are not truly knights in the European sense though and are more akin to light cavalry armed with spears, shields, and their excellent short composite bows.

The Long Walk: Most criminals in Thebos receive the unthinkably cruel punishment of eternal servitude to the empire via the institution of The Reborn, a specialized sort of undead created by the Surgeons of Hecate. In the distant past, before the practice was perfected by the Guild, criminals would be gathered in Medea's Gate and there they would have a cross chained across their shoulders. Forced to make The Long Walk to Grand Oryx, those who collapsed beside the road where crucified where they fell. Today, the cross is much lighter, ceremonial even and there is far less whipping involved. The criminals are even given a degree of celebration and ceremony along The Grand Oryx Way as it is seen as a way of ensuring the favor of the Gods for their families and loved ones. Even so it is a powerful deterrent and crime is mostly well-controlled except in the more lawless regions such as the Gorgon's Trench and elsewhere.

Limus Town – A medium sized river mining town located to the south of Zademis and to the east of Herrari and Medea’s Gate on the outskirts of civilization.  The city sits astride the Kuoros River and the old trade road that runs east to west.    The largest corbitumite mines in all of Thebos are located near the Lykaedian backwater towns of Limus Town and Zedemis along with other vast deposits of other mineral wealth. As a result, Limus Town and Zedemis are becoming subtle nests of devious plots and espionage though only to those who go looking for it.

Poseidon is the Patron Deity of Limus Town due to its location on the Kuoros River and there is a temple to the deity in the temple district.  One can charter a boat from Media’s Gate to Limus Town on the river and Dormant Lady Lake due to the abundance of river traffic resulting from all of the commerce generated by the mining operations. The area across the river is called “The Hill” and is reputed to be the home of two powerful witches and a tribe of Hobgoblins.  It is about a two day hike from the town once across the river.  The old trade road continues to the east of Limus town accross the river into the lands of the Gorgon’s Trench but was built in better times and has long since been abandoned.

The worst part of town is the Tanner’s District which has a cemetery of the poor near it.  There are six competing groups of organized criminals in this bustling river mining town full of wickedness and sin.  As a result its a favorite location for carousing and revelry of all types having somewhat of a wild party atmosphere (think Mardi Gras).  The Lion’s Den is a prominent local tavern that is a favorite with travelers, adventurers and locals alike.  Mosaics is a club in Limus Town were one can find strong drink, escorts and even musical entertainment.  Bards and musical troupes often perform here.

Medea’s Gate – This is a city in the hill region south of Ptoleph on the main trade road and is one of the two largest cities in Thebos.  It is a large lakeside town with the Dormant Lady lake on the east side (the Dock District) and the Market District on the north side of town where the open ground and horse stables are located.  The city of Medea’s Gate is a low lying, sprawling affair where the buildings are typically not as tall as the temples.  It is a little larger than Ptoleph but has no major guild presence aside from a few local guilds and representatives of the larger guild houses of Grand Oryx.  

The Oryxian guilds here tend to keep a low profile due to competition from the local guilds and there are no guild house fortresses in evidence like the ones found in Ptoleph and Grand Oryx.  Instead, the guilds here have small shops instead of the sprawling fortified complexes found elsewhere.  There are also numerous monuments in the city’s squares dedicated to its heroes and noble families including the one dedicated to the Hero Landishar Demiri of the noteworthy Demeri Family, a once prominent but fallen family of nobles.

The Chessman Inn provides free room and board to anyone who can beat the proprietor in chess and is a reputable establishment.  The Scepter and the Rose is the finest eating establishment in Medea’s Gate.  Medea’s Gate had a royal charter once long ago and this establishment is a remnant of those better times for the city.

There are many elements of organized crime in the city which control different areas of town.  The Ophidian Hand is a thieves' guild that controls the Market District and there is another one that controls the dock district.  The Iron Urn Inn appears to be a nice establishment at a glance and is also a gambling hall as well as an inn and a tavern.  This place is notorious for its card sharks and con artists that prey on patrons that gamble here that aren’t among the “in” crowd.  It is frequented by people who are involved in the seedy underbelly of organized crime in Medea’s Gate and is rumored to be a front for one of the local thieves’ guilds.

Ptoleph – The City of Ptoleph is nestled among a rough stretch of hills in the northernmost portion of the Kurous Valley. The Kurous river flows through the city in a southeasterly direction to the lower lands below. The city sits astride the intersection of the great river and the Grand Oryx Way making it a prominent center of trade and commerce.  Grand Oryx lies to the north, about 150 miles through the hills and to the south of the great city is an area of dense woodlands. Traveling to Grand Oryx by dragon ship is a far easier affair and takes little more than a day and a half with good winds.

Most of the major Oryxian Guilds have a presence in Ptoleph due to its proximity to Grand Oryx and have constructed guild halls and quarters within elaborate sprawling fortified complexes, similar to those found in Grand Oryx but on a smaller scale.  Five of the great guild houses are actually fortified and crenelated.  The Emporium is an Inn in Ptoleph run by the retired adventurer Argus Norviadras.  He displays trophies from his adventuring days here, some of which are for sale.  The Stone Mason’s Inn is another fine local establishment located in Ptoleph.

Spirythol – A small town that is the capital of the Kingdom of Cephasos in the Gorgon’s trench.  This is the location of the dreaded Gravemoor swamp and can be reached by traveling overland from the old abandoned trade road across the river from Limus Town.  The area recently suffered a devastating civil war and the population has been thinned out considerably.  The Surgeon’s of Hechate have a small presence here and have local interests.  The Fallen Star Inn is a tavern run by the Surgeons of Hecate’s representative in Spirythol.

New Artemia – This is the village where the tomb of the burning priest is located.  It is located south of Ptoleph on the main trade road and east of Old Artemia which is now abandoned after it was determined that the temple and tomb below were haunted.

Silverton – This is a small hamlet beyond Shepoi where three silver mines are located.
The korbidimite was mined out here years ago but there is still silver to be found in the mines.  Hurin Oralease was a great warlord who held sway here three generations ago.  He was reputed to have been poisoned by the guilds on his stance over the reborn.  The ruins of his castle are located south of Silverton.

SlagfordA small Hamlet which sits in the shadow of the giant statue of Hephaestus on the Limus Town side of Hell’s Peak pass.  It is only a few hours hike to the ruins below the giant statue.  The Deer’s Perch Inn is the only Inn in this small farming community.

Winterholm – This small town is west of Medea’s gate and nestled in the Mountains. The town is the location of the venerated Oracle of Winterholm which is regularly visited by pilgrims seeking the wisdom of the Oracle.  There is also a ruin of some kind that is rumored to be located nearby.

Zedemis – This is a large mining town along the Kouros river.  It is larger than nearby Limus Town and is a large trading center due to its location at the confluence of the Forger’s Runnel and Kouros Rivers.  The largest corbitumite mines in all of Thebos are located near the Lykaedian backwater towns of Limus Town and Zedemis along with vast deposits of other mineral wealth. As a result, Limus Town and Zedemis are becoming subtle nests of devious plots and espionage though only to those who go looking for it.

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