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Descriptions of the Settlements of the Adakkian Sound Region:

by Geoff Gander

This article describes the various numbered settlements shown on the map of the Adakkian Sound region. Simply match the number of the settlement to the corresponding number in this document. Each settlement is described in terms of population, a brief history, and interesting events that are taking place there. There are also suggested activities for players passing through the area.

1. Kastelios (pop. 25,000): One of the more accessible cities on Davania, Kastelios is rapidly opening up to the traders of the Known World, such as those from Minrothad, Ierendi, and occasionally Thyatis. This port city of the former Milenian Empire has experienced a renaissance as both eager traders and tourists flock to its harbours, to what has been dubbed "The Gateway to the South", in search of adventure and profit. The city itself has undergone considerable expansion in recent years as explorers and settlers arrive in a steadily growing trickle, slowly overwhelming the meagre port facilities. Kastelios' strategic position between the Amoros and Vasilios river systems, and its commanding view of the Serpent Strait, has attracted the attention of Thyatis, ever eager to strengthen its foothold on the continent. Meanwhile, Minrothaddan traders have been attempting to buy out the local trading houses, in order to create a captive market for their goods. Between these two outside powers, and conflicts with other city-states on the Meghala Kimata Plains, there is no shortage of intrigue in Kastelios. Behind closed doors and in dark alleyways, people gather to foment their plans, whether they are pro-Thyatian annexationists, would-be despots, or those who would rebuild the Milenian Empire. Players may become involved in these plans unwittingly, and soon find themselves the targets o f street gangs or secret societies. Players can find just about any kind of work here, and Kastelios is an excellent staging point to introduce them to the wonders of Davania.

2. Garganin (pop. 20,000): Formerly a colony of Hule, Garganin lost contact with its motherland over 150 years ago, and has not regained it since. Due to this longer period of isolation, the inhabitants of this city do not share many of the beliefs of their compatriots in Hule. They do not have expansionistic drives, and the worship of Bozdogan is not nearly as prevalent. In fact, immersion in a foreign environment has seen them adopt many of the Immortals worshipped in other city-states, such as Zirchev, Halav, Petra, Asterius, and others. As such, the inhabitants of Garganin no longer consider themselves Huleans, and wish to be left alone to deal with their own problems, such as frequent humanoid raids. Players may find employment here as bandit hunters (a big problem here), or guards. They may also wish to settle down here, as the city's ruler is always eager to obtain protection for his citizens, and is not above granting land to do it. Unlike its neighbour, Kastelios, Garganin does not have a reputation for welcoming newcomers, and in fact tries to have as little to do with them as possible.

3. Kalavronti (pop. 9,500): Kalavronti was a bustling mining and agricultural town during the height of the Milenian Empire, but now this ancient town has fallen on hard times. Increasing bandit raids have, reduced the wealth and productivity of the town, and made its populace suspicious of outsiders; but has also instilled in the people a sense of self-sufficiency. There is a general feeling that conditions are bad, but they could be worse, and so there is no reason to rely on outside powers to solve problems. Players who offer their services as bandit hunters will be welcomed and appreciated, but any attempts to try to reincorporate Kalavronti into the outside world will be met with resistance.

4. Mivosia (pop. 21,000): Mivosia was, and still is, one of the most powerful city-states along the Meghalo Fithi river system. Its elite corps of soldiers have managed to subjugate the surrounding villages, and its leaders are determined to bring order to the region. If any inland Davanian cities have any hope of resurrecting the Milenian Empire, Mivosia would be among those most likely to be able to do it, if its leaders could present a united front. Order is maintained here only by the iron-fisted rule of the governing elite, which ties the peasants to their land, and keeps the citizenry in their place. Mivosia is not an inviting place to travellers.

5. Ilioloosti (pop. 18,700): Ilioloosti is the sister-city of Mivosia, which, although lacking the same smug pride of that city, still manages to dominate the villages in its area. Its government has managed to maintain some semblance of Milenian democracy, albeit a corrupted version. Perhaps the greatest attraction of this city is its famous (at least, by local standards) Academy of the Arts, where philosophers, artists, and writers hone their skills under the tutelage of acknowledged masters, and some surviving documents of the Milenian Empire are known to exist. It is also at the Academy where revolutionary ideas, such as the full restoration of Milenian democracy, are being discussed. For passers-by, Ilioloosti is an island of relative peace in a veritable sea of chaos and uncertainty, where it is possible to obtain employment as caravan guards, explorers, or spies (the rivalry with Mivosia is deeply entrenched).

6. Cyclonia (pop. 9,500): Once a great mining centre, Cyclonia has been in decline for the past thousand years. At the height of Milenian power, Cyclonia was a great city of 85,000, many of whom were great stonemasons, sculptors, smiths, and jewellers. After the collapse of the empire in BC 50, the generals in command of the city were able to hold it against barbarian attacks from the Meghales Amosses Desert. Since it was a largely isolated settlement to begin with, full knowledge of the empire's collapse did not reach it until BC 38. Alarmed at the development, Cyclonia's leaders organised several expeditions to gain control of as much land as possible over the next 300 years, knowing full well that the city could not survive on its own for long due to a lack of arable land in the region. During this time barbarian and humanoid incursions became more frequent, and the city's strength began to ebb under the pressure as losses could not be easily replaced. One group of colonists from Cyclonia managed to find greener pastures, and founded the city of Aelios (#17 on the map). Disheartened over the apparent hopelessness of the situation, people left Cyclonia over the years, taking their chances with the unknown. People coming to Cyclonia will at first think the place is in ruins, since most buildings are dilapidated from neglect. At the centre of the ruins lies a town, surrounded by high walls and guarded vigilantly. Passers-by will likely attract the attention of the locals, as potential saviours to lead them to a safer place, or to help them reclaim their city.

7. Hrissopoli (pop. 7,000): Hrissopoli was, in its heyday, the sister-city to Cyclonia. It boasted a population of 67,000, though it experienced a much more rapid decline. With the collapse of central authority in BC 50, Hrissopoli's army found itself without reliable communications or instructions, and soon feel victim to the rampaging humanoid hordes swarming out of the Adakkian Mounts. Within three weeks, over three-quarters of the city had been looted and burned, the rest spared destruction when the horde began to squabble amongst itself, and was finally driven out by the remaining inhabitants. Since then, Hrissopoli has recovered somewhat through sporadic trading with Ilioloosti and Telos Taksidhi, though repeated barbarian and humanoid raids have prevented the town from regaining its former glory. Newcomers to the scene will be looked upon with caution, and if proven non-threatening, will be looked upon as possible saviours against the raids. Adventurers would have their work cut out for them.

8. Telos Taksidhi (pop. 9,000): Largely a farming community, Telos Taksidhi was never a very important town in the Milenian Empire. The old overland trade routes bypassed it completely, and few people ever came or left. It was so far off the proverbial beaten path that even the collapse of the Milenian Empire did not affect local events very much. Due to its isolation, this town has always been relatively self-contained, and continued to be such after BC 50. The first extensive contact with outsiders since the collapse was with a Minrothaddan explorer in AC 979, who returned home and obtained permission from the merchant houses to open a trade route to the region in order to obtain rare spices, fruits, and vegetables. Thus was interest in the town, and the Green Coast in general, born. Only now are residents learning the true extent of what happened over the past thousand years, and now the Telosians are beginning to question why they have been so lucky in comparison. The only interesting feature in this town is the Minrothad consulate/trading post, the town's only connection to the Known World, a fact of which the Minrothaddans are very aware, as they slowly entrench themselves into the regional economy.

9. Polakatsikes (pop. 8,600): This marginal farming town was barely established when the Milenian Empire collapsed. At the time, it was among the southernmost of Milenian settlements, and near the source of the great Meghalo Fithi river. Aside from these distinctive features, this town is quite unremarkable, save for its almost total isolation. This isolation was a considerable problem over the last millennium, as incursions from the desert nomads to the south. In general, though, the town has managed to hold off all but the worst of the raids, and achieve some measure of prosperity. The people here vaguely remember the Milenian Empire, and do not miss it, for the one thing that remains clear in their memories as a people is the fact that they were ignored even then. People who arrive at this town will find a large group of rugged individualists, ruled by a town council, who bow to no one - but will happily accept any aid against the raids that still occur now and then.

10. Raven Scarp (pop. 20,000): Originally the main meeting place of the Raven Clan Hinterlanders, this area was conquered around AC 988, along with stretches of the Davanian coastline near here. Today, it is a bustling port city that receives goods from Minrothad, Yavdlom, Ierendi, Kastelios, Ochalea, the Pearl Islands, and occasionally Cestia. For many people, this is the first taste of Davania, where many come to start a new life - though Kastelios is now rapidly rising as another gateway. Unlike Kastelios, new arrivals here must pass through a rigmarole of Thyatian bureaucracy - from entry visas to personal documentation checks to verification of land allocation for those seeking a new start here. This is another useful place for characters to begin their exploration of Davania - one that lacks much of Kastelios' "anything goes" atmosphere, but has a slightly thicker veneer of "Known World sensibilities and hospitality". It is no less dangerous or full of intrigue, though.

11. Manacapuru (pop. 7,600): The ancient stone city, capital of the Manacapuru tribespeople, was once known as Ixachitl, a prosperous, but little-known Oltec city-state descended from the ancient nation of Orimul, which vanished along with many other Davanian nations in the battles against the Carnifex hordes of Y'hog. Ixachitl flourished until roughly BC 200, when a rival faction within the city's leadership arose that questioned the wisdom of maintaining peace with the Milenian Empire. This faction, encouraged by Atzanteotl, gained control of the city through a bloody coup and proceeded to make war upon the neighbouring Milenians. The war ended with a crushing defeat for Ixachitl, which was then plunged into anarchy, in which thousands either died or fled into the jungles, and the worshippers of Atzanteotl were left in control of a pile of rubble. Over the following centuries, almost everything of the original culture was forgotten, and now the descendants of those followers of Atzanteotl are little more than savages, who revere their treacherous Immortal still, and have perfected the art of poisoning weapons. The city has been rebuilt anew, and is now reminiscent of those settlements occupied by the Children of the Viper in the Atruaghin Clans, evidence to some of divine instruction...

12. Glauqnor (pop. 10,500): Glauqnor is the second-largest settlement in Emerond, and as such it has more than its share of activity. Here, a traveller can find numerous attraction that are available in other larger settlements, overlaid with the mysterious Emerondian culture. Apart from this, however, Glauqnor has little to offer the adventure-seeker. This place is quiet, just how the inhabitants like it.

13. Izmira (pop. 12,000): Izmira is the capital city of the Kingdom of Emerond, and much of the adventure opportunities available in other capitals can also be found here. As the official residence of the royal family, Izmira offers many plots - by natives and foreigners alike, for would-be heroes to foil. Besides the inherent beauty of this city (like all Emerondian settlements, Izmira seems to have been "grown" out of living plant matter, rather than built), travellers can uncover many mysteries about the Emerondians. It is said that documents containing information on the true origins of the Emerondians can be found somewhere beneath the city, as well as detailed accounts of events in northern Davania over the past thousand years, possibly the only ones in existence.

14. Schweidnitz (pop. 2,500): Founded in AC 977 as a military outpost of the Heldannic knights, Schweidnitz has since grown into a moderately prosperous rest stop for ships travelling the northern coast of Davania to the Adakkian Sound or to the Strait of Izonda. Ships plying the opening trade routes between the Known World and the Savage Baronies, and who do not which to risk overland travel across the Neck on the Serpent Peninsula, often stop here to restock essential supplies and for some shore leave for the crew. Yavdlom offers few ports of sufficient size on its western coast, and a direct journey from Kastelios to Slagovich, while shorter, is more expensive in terms of docking fees, and the Kastelians lack the resources to provide armed escorts on demand (for a small fee). These factors have made Schweidnitz quite prosperous considering its location. The climate here is mild, considering its latitude, and the waters of Schweidnitzere Bucht (Schweidnitzer Bay) are warm and filled with all forms of fish. The soil is also quite rich; this colony has no problems feeding itself. The local activities here are agriculture, shipbuilding, and mining - primarily for iron and silver. The leadership of the Heldann Freeholds is planning to expand this settlement, in order to tighten the Heldanner claim to the area. Apart from colonists, many would-be explorers come here to unlock the mysteries of the Izondian Desert, as well as learn about the wonders of the nearby Adakkian Sound. Players who venture here can find numerous forms of employment here, as in any frontier town.

15. Porto Santuário (pop. 8,700): Founded in AC 976 as a way-station for Texeiran merchantmen plying their trade further south, Porto Santuário has since grown into a prosperous garrison town. Protected on its three landward sides by high walls, and by a sea wall along the Sound, its residents feel quite safe. Many inhabitants make a living mining the nearby hills for copper, platinum, and rubies, which are in abundance here. Many other squander their earnings at the numerous pubs and gambling houses - the other pillars of the local economy - while some save up their earnings and build palatial estates outside the confines of the town. Many travellers find themselves here on their way to the Izondian Desert, or further south towards the source of the Sound. Along with Beira (number 16 on the map), this town forms half of the so-called "Texeiran gate" (or the Texeiran Noose, depending on your sympathies). Both of the towns are situated on either side of the entrance to the Adakkian Sound such that they can control access to it. The Texeiran grip on the area will be tightened further when the settlement of Torres Novas is established sometime around AC 1007. It will be located 2 hexes due north of Porto Santuário, and will allow the "Gate" to be closed firmly. So far, the Gate has enlarged Texeiran coffers considerably, as any ship wishing to enter the Sound in order to access the other ports and colonies along its shores must pay a tariff valued at 5% of the net worth of the goods carried on board, or face the wrath of the Texeiran Southern Fleet based in both Beira and Porto Santuário. What this amounts to is a tax on visiting one's colonial possessions deeper within the Sound, and for doing business in the region. Needless to say, the atmosphere is very tense, and it would not take much for hostilities to erupt. As it stands now, no one has yet discovered a safe overland route into the Sound, and no one yet can match Texeiran naval prowess in the region. Travellers can find employment here as explorers, assisting homesteaders in gaining control of their land, and as sell-swords. They might also be lured by rumours of great wealth for the taking hidden in ruins deep within the jungle...

16. Beira (pop. 7,400): Founded as a trading post in AC 968 for obtaining rare wood and spices from nearby natives, Beira has only recently grown into the fortress town it is today. Along with Porto Santuário (location 15 on the map), it forms the "Texeiran Gate", a strategic arrangement of colonies that commands access to the Sound (please see the description under location 15 for more information). This is where the similarity ends with its sister town. Where Porto Santuário is relatively frontier-like, and often violent, Beira is far more settled and peaceful. The local Oltec tribespeople trade peacefully with the Texeirans, trading their gold and pelts for Texeiran weapons and amenities such as cast-iron pots. Enterprising players can find employment here as caravan guards, mercenaries, or as explorers.

17. Aelios (pop. 9,000): Aelios is a fishing and farming town established by refugees from Cyclonia (location 6 on the map) in AC 307, during the migrations that followed the collapse of the Milenian Empire. Few people come to this town, save for the occasional Vilaverdan or Texeiran explorer heading inland to trade with the tribespeople of the Meghales Amosses Desert. Travellers will find an independent people here, who have largely abandoned Milenian ways save for their language and architectural styles.

18. Port Elsterbury (pop. 6,000): Founded by Bellayne in AC 927, Port Elsterbury was originally supposed to be a staging area for a massive colonisation effort to head off Renardois efforts at colonising the Sound. The land rush failed to materialise, and efforts to drain the swamplands at the mouth of the Charing river, upon which the town was built, failed. Only a trickle of people ever came to this place, and these were often the outcasts of Bellayne society - derelicts, fugitives from justice, and the like. Travellers coming here will see what are obviously once-opulent palaces, manors, and public buildings being used as flophouses, taverns, and gambling halls. Truly an urban planning disaster. In fact, it is only by virtue of the 500-man garrison here that the town remains a colony of Bellayne - otherwise it would have been abandoned to its own fate (there is a strong pro-imperialist faction in the Bellayne government that has managed to keep the troops here). Despite the military presence, Port Elsterbury is a free city for all intents and purposes, and anything can be traded here for a price, including slaves. Lawfully-aligned adventurers would not wish to stay here long - the aura of social decay and malevolence is strong here - and any newcomer to this town who is not careful will be relieved of their valuables. Enterprising adventurers could offer to clean up the place for Bellayne for a reward (or perhaps governance of the town), but they would have their work cut out for them.

19. Jelgavpils (pop. 4,000): Founded around AC 500 by Littonian explorers who had been lost at sea for weeks, and has subsequently mixed with some of the natives, Jelgavpils is a moderately prosperous city-state, though it is little more than a town. Although there has been no contact with Littonia for centuries, the people here have kept much of their culture. Built on the Jelgava river, Jelgavpils commands a strategic location on prime agricultural land. The inhabitants grow their own vines for winemaking, raise their own livestock, and see to their own affairs. Generally, they are content with their existence, and wish to be left alone - shunning contact with most of the other settlements along the Sound. Adventurers finding this town will be treated with hospitality, and will be assisted in any way possible, but no great efforts will be made to encourage prolonged contact with outsiders.

20. Thalla (pop. 8,500): Thalla was founded around AC 250 by refugees from the growing chaos in the ancient nation of Varellya. Since then, this town has been destroyed and rebuilt four times as wars, raids, and natural catastrophes have taken their toll on the people here. Nestled at the source of the Jelgava river (which the Thallans call the Vrall river), Thalla sustains itself with its farms, fishing, and hunting in the jungle. Life here is hard, not only because of periodic kara-kara raids, but also because of isolation. There is infrequent contact with Jelgavpils by way of the river, for the route is long and dangerous, and neither town has much in the way of trading goods. Over the centuries, much of the Varellyan culture has been lost, with the people retaining only fragments of their language and some basic customs. In every other way they have developed a new identity, such that they are Varellyan in name only. People venturing to this town will find the inhabitants to be a determined lot, fighting for everything they have, but willing to extend a welcome to strangers who prove themselves to be non-threatening. Eliminating some of the threats in the region would also earn the trust of these people.

21. Cap Saint-Renard (pop. 6,800): Cap Saint-Renard was founded in AC 879 as a way-station for explorers and traders headed further inland. Large-scale settlement did not begin until AC 894, when substantial deposits of diamonds were discovered in some nearby hills. Since then, thousands have come here to seek their fortune. Today, Cap Saint-Renard is a prosperous town, full of shops and inns serving numerous travellers. This colony has the richest deposits of diamonds in the whole region, and its soils provide its plantations and farms with bountiful harvests. There is plenty of work to be had here for adventurers as guards, miners, and as explorers to stake claims and to expand Renardie's colonial holdings.

22. Shaedrin (pop. 3,800): Founded by halflings knocked off course during the great migration towards Brun in BC 1300, this settlement has remained largely undisturbed for centuries. Although there is considerable contact with outsiders, and the ruling sheriff encourages open exchange of goods, society here remains largely closed to outsiders. There are no foreigners living within Shaedrin's bounds, and the inhabitants like it this way. These attitudes are actually a holdover from the period when the halflings were driven from their homes by the Varellyans so long ago, though there are no records of the original events. This place provides good opportunities to observe halfling culture as it was before extensive contact with outsiders, where Lalor is spoken almost exclusively, and traditions now forgotten in the Five Shires are still practised. Overall, the halflings here are independent, but willing to receive outsiders for a time - so long as they do not try to impose their ways or overstay their welcome.

23. Porto Cabinda (pop. 9,000): This Vilaverdan colony was founded in AC 950, and was the southern half of what was for a time known as the "Vilaverdan Fortress" - two ports controlling access to the interior of Davania and the Brasol Mountains. In most respects it functions the same way as the Texeiran Gate, but most of the riches gained from it have since been lost to the operation maintained by their colonial rivals, the Texeirans. Needless to say, tensions have increased between the two nations, and full-scale war between the two is not unlikely in the coming years. Despite the tensions, Porto Cabinda remains prosperous, exporting the exotic fruits and vegetables, as well as sugar cane, grown on its plantations. Generally a quiet place, farther removed from the frontier existence experienced by so many other settlements of this region.

24. São Paulo (pop. 7,400): Founded in AC 955, this Vilaverdan town forms the northern half of the so-called "Vilaverdan Fortress", which for several years controlled access to the interior of the continent. In many ways it is much like its counterpart, Porto Cabinda, with its pleasant farms and its plantations, supplying rich crops of tropical fruits and vegetables, as well as supplies of rubies from nearby mines. Generally a pleasant town, like its southern counterpart.

25. Klath-T'zarth (pop. 8,800): This unusual town was founded around AC 300 by an expedition of Adakkian Carnifex and their Troglodyte servants, at the confluence of what they called the Shakkor and Y'hgg rivers, and upon the ruins of the Varellyan city of Priallus. They named it Abb-H'zoth. By AC 400, the town was rapidly growing, and the Carnifex rulers began making plans to expand their holdings and drive out those of other races. They did not get far, however, before a horde of lizard men, who had been wandering for centuries after the destruction of their homeland to the southwest, decided to move in and take control. Meeting with some rebellious Troglodytes, they encouraged thoughts of revolt, promising them freedom if they helped them conquer the town. Within weeks, the Troglodyte servants rose up against their masters, and slaughtered them, suffering great losses in the process. Unfortunately, the lizard men had no intention of giving the Troglodytes their freedom, and moved in and exterminated the weakened victors. Renaming the town Klath-T'zarth, the lizard men remade it to their liking, destroying the unpleasant obsidian buildings and replacing them with ones of more mundane stone. Since then, the population has grown slowly, eking out an existence from the surrounding lands and the nearby Bogs of Greth through fishing and primitive farming. Some money is also made by providing guides to lead travellers to half-sunken ruins (many of them Varellyan) scattered throughout the marshlands, and by hiring out warriors as mercenaries (as Vilaverde is doing in preparation for a war with Texeiras). Apart from these activities, there is little contact with the outside world - few would want to come here, and the inhabitants do not want the interference of outsiders. Thus this town remains a mystery, which some enterprising merchants see as virgin territory for their goods. Adventurers would have little to do here, save for exploring the nearby ruins, and possibly learning about the now-forgotten deed against the Carnifex and their servants.