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Duchy of Maganshireby Cab
(correct as of 1049AC).
Maganshire nominally owes fealty to the Kingdom of Norwold. The Duchy lies between the Kingdom of Oceansend to the North, and the County of Landfall to the South. While historically Maganshire is a Duchy, the Duke owes fealty directly to the Emperor of Alphatia and the Great Council, and the Duchy is now effectively independent of Alpha, and the Duke is ranked as a King within the Empire of Alphatia.
Magan is the largest city in the Duchy of Maganshire. Standing on the navigable River Gan, around 30 miles inland from the port town of Coston, it is the seat of the Duke of Maganshire. There are numerous other dominions (baronies and counties) that make up the greater Duchy. It is a heavily fortified city of 40,000 people (including the surrounding countryside), made up of three walled enclaves. The Old Town is enclosed within a great bend of the River Gan, protected on the one dry approach by the mighty Magan Castle (of which more later). The New Town lies outside of this meander, and is linked to the old town by Magan Bridge. The third enclave, fort Beotach, was constructed by the Alphatian army as a staging post for the invasion of Landfall to liberate it from the Knights of Vanya in 1015AC.
Magan, and Magan Castle, has never fallen to outside invasion since the city was founded by Alphatian colonists centuries ago. It has, however, been victim to followers of Arik in 1018AC. Adventurers, most of them minor nobles in the Duchy, liberated the City, but the old Duke, Lord Spirrel the Wise, was irrecoverable. Initially he was replaced by Count Beotach of Coston, but upon his regrettable demise at the hands of his old nemesis Fredegar the Corruptor the current Duke, Obsidian, took over.
As a frontier city, Magan has seen more than its fair share of battles; it has been besieged by the Thyatian Expeditionary Forces, raided by Dragons from the Wyrmsteeth range, and assaulted by Heldannic Knights. Yet to date it has never fallen, owing to its superb strategic position enclosed on three sides within the River Gan, the almost impenetrable fortress, and the sheer determination of its inhabitants.
Key to some Notable Sites in Magan
Sites around the market square
1. Johns 'One Stop Giant Shop'
John, the Dwarf Mountain Giant, was once an adventurer. Having struck it rich enough to retire and buy a shop, he decided to hire out his services to the good people of Magan.
John and his family had never really fitted in amongst the other Mountain Giants. They were smaller, for a start, his older brother Harry being the tallest of the brood at a mere 10'. But they were also a little more sensitive, rather too quick to forgive others for intruding in their territory, and eventually they were outcast. For the same reasons, John was never really cut out for adventuring, but he and his family are invaluable citizens; Johns motto 'I can open doors for you' literally refers to his great strength and his ability to kick in almost any barrier. He and his brothers can be hired for manual work anywhere within the city, work which they greatly enjoy. 'It gets us outside', Tom the Giant has been heard to remark.
2. Slipperythumbs Tailor
Old Dean Slipperythumbs (a sedate and kindly old halfling) has been the highest class tailor in Magan for years now, but, oddly no one has seen him so much as lift a needle in over a decade. Yet he and his wife (Deanna) somehow manage to turn out top quality garments, to order, on time. There are rumours of late night activity in the shop, with small figures flittering around on gossamer wings pulling thread behind them, and it is perhaps notable that Dean has never sought to deny these rumours.
As a general rule of thumb, Dean can turn out any high quality garment that a PC can pay for, within 2-3 working days. He won't cut corners (or costs) for anyone.
3. Waites weaponsmiths
An old fashioned approach to weapons sales; as a frontier city, most any weapons listed in the RC (and some not listed) can be purchased here, for a standard price. Also iron mongers, tools, smithing supplies, etc. Waites has a good reputation amongst the adventuring and military classes of the Duchy.
4. Grain Exchange
One of the major industries on the plains around the City is agriculture, and most of the grain (wheat, barley and oats) is traded here. This is a large, domed, stone building, with merchant factors having their own trading areas in the alcoves around the central hall. It is a bustling, busy place, and an excellent source for information.
5. Spirrels Tears
This is a spring, which feeds a small tributary of the River Gan. Water first began to flow here during the occupation of Magan by followers of Arik; the area around the brook is now largely left wild, with many flowers and small trees to be found there. It is a place for contemplation; a quiet area to escape to, and a favourite meeting place for young lovers.
6. Alphatian Arms (inn)
The highest class establishment in town; an expensive place to get a drink, and not the kind of place a grubby adventurer fresh returned from the Grollacks can really relax, but the place to find a better quality visitor.
7. Chandlers Candles
The main source for lighting within the city; as well as candles, lamp oil, lanterns and flints, also a source to buy items simply enchanted with continual light (for as little as 50gp each).
8. Connors Smithy
Finest metal goods. Insiders, those who really know Magan and happenings here, also know that Connor has a secret vault where valuables can be stored. My mutual agreement with Squerglar (Master Thief), this vault is known to be off-limits except as a testing ground for new thief Apprentices.
This substantial building is the site for city blood-sports (cock fighting, bear baiting, and dog fighting). Substantial sums are gambled on the result of these bouts, and people from every part of society from rich nobles to the lowliest of beggars can be found here. An excellent place to contact less reputable persons.
10. Sweaty Dwarf (Inn)
A lower class establishment than the Alphatian Arms, and a little rowdier, but still, a good place to find a warm meal and a dry bed.
11. Silverton Jewellers
The main factors for selling crafted silver and gold items produced in Silverton, and pewter from Gollim. Also a place to sell valuable adventuring finds (prices offered are typically 85% of stated value).
Items can be pawned for about half of their value, to be redeemed later for 70% of their worth within a month. The amount of cash available here is variable, but generally up to 2000gp worth of goods can be pawned. Occasionally, most peculiar and exotic items show up here.
13. Deckhams Armourers
Deckhams (run by Jos Deckham, third generation armourer) is rather an old fashioned establishment. Jos doesn't approve of scale mail, banded mail or suit armour, but he is oddly enamoured of the shield weapons. Deckhams doesn't make armour, instead buying supplies from the Dwarven settlements at Stormhaven and Sutton, and also doing an excellent trade in barding and heavy metalwork.
14. Vinnies Veterinary Merchants
Vincento Corun was a conman in Darokin, who got on the wrong side of the law in practically every town. He came to Norwold to lie low... And that was 30 years ago. He set up the veterinary merchants as a front for more illicit affairs, paying a few local herbalists more money than they had ever seen to provide cover, but eventually found that the living he was making taking money from farmers was as good as he could get robbing them. Vincento is a short, squat, rather nervous man, always looking over his shoulder, always ready to run away, but that demeanour belies a sharp business mind and a quick capacity to spot a potential profit.
15. Dianas Vinters
A former apprentice of the great Spirrel, Diana felt that there was a real shortage of great wine in Norwold. She established good communications with the best wine merchants in Darokin and Glantri, and the shop she established has thrived ever since. Diana (a common Alphatian wizard of reasonable ability) herself lives in retirement in Hometon, only visiting the shop to check the books about once a month. When she's encountered she will usually be accompanied her familiar, a timber wolf. She's a good source of information for local history, and has a substantial collection of magical curiosities and oddments.
16. Temple of Averyx
Averyx is the patron immortal of Alphatians in Norwold. His order is well established in Magan, being represented by the Patriarch Thermon (an elderly gentleman rather resembling Brian Blessed) and his assistant Yegor. This blocky, grey building is decorated with gargoyles, the symbol of Averyx; inside it is cold, even spartan, entirely devoted to practical matters in the way of the order.
17. Temple of Valerias
Valerias is perhaps the second most popular immortal amongst the largely agrarian populace of Magan; representing, as she does, passionate love, her order brings joy and occupation on the long, dark, Norwold nights. The high priestess of Valerias in the city is called Desira, an ex adventuring pure Alphatian lady apparently aged somewhere in the region of 40 (real age 90), who has been romantically involved with a powerful paladin of Ixion named Apophis for the last decade or so. This temple is garishly painted, and sumptuously furnished, exactly the opposite of the temple of Averyx.
18. Itchy Baron (tavern)
It is unclear for which baron this tavern is named, but it is believed to be the late Baron Lyrenial of Wurton Lea, a Bellissarian noble forced into exile after an unfortunate and scandalous incident with twin pirate princesses from Minaea. This is a raucous, loud, and well natured tavern.
19. Thieves Court
Squerglar, Burglar of Tinton, has been a legend in Magan for many years. His association with famed bard Marilyn, former duke Beotach, current duke Obsidian, the paladin Apophis and Kiethsara the infamous metamorph priestess of Kagyar and (briefly) empress of Alphatia has been immortalised in many a local song and tale. Everyone in Magan has a story about Squerglar, and the half of them that are true are the least feasible sounding ones. He's a common Alphatian master thief who makes it his job to keep the streets at least reasonably clean for his own apprentices to ply an honest days thieving.
Being an experienced adventurer, and possibly the vainest man in Norwold, he has had golden statues of himself produced to grace the public courtyard in front of his house. They lead the way to the gold plated doors of his multi-storey 'hideout'. He is arguably the finest swordsman in the Duchy.
20. Temple of Odin
While other religious orders enjoy the patronage of the rich and noble of the city, it is to Odin that many of the local (ethnically Heldann) turn. This temple is not rich, it has no notable clergy, but Odin's wide following means that it is usually the case that a priest of Odin knows of impending problems before anyone in the other temples.
21. Broken Doll (inn)
Probably the third most exclusive establishment in Magan for accommodation, a cheap place to stay, with a large communal hall and a hearty plate of stew waiting for guests.
22. Rancid Troll (tavern)
Most of the lower class taverns on the backstreets of Magan are here today, gone tomorrow (and thus not listed here). But the Troll, with its nightly Hobbit Tossing contests and regular fights, somehow endures. More of a plummet than a dive.
Most leather goods in the duchy are produced either by peasants, at home, or in the town of Butchers Cross. A sizeable tannery also operates in Magan, however, with the resultant stench blighting part of the town throughout summer months. Peasants can make the odd copper piece selling urine to the tanners, and adventurers can get animal or monster hides cured here for a small fee. The proprietor, Nel, is an elderly Heldann lady who is rumoured to have no sense of smell at all.
24. Clay Cotton Potters
The village of Clay Cotton, just South of Magan, produces the finest pottery in Norwold; much of this is exported via Magan, and the factors base is found on the Market Square. A small shop selling pottery (often those items of insufficient quality for export) exists to sell goods to locals.
25. Mr. Abramovich Tinkers
This building has housed the towns tinker for years, but recently was bought out by a family of gnomes (the Abramovich family) displaced by the falling of Earthshaker up in Hamsterley. As well as repairing pots, sharpening knives etc. this shop has recently started selling fine gnomish time pieces and other curiosities.
26. Salting Houses and 27. Smokery
The Heldann people of Magan retain a strong passion for salted and smoked goods; while the climate of Maganshire is cool but temperate, meaning that livestock can be slaughtered at any time of the year for fresh meat, and trade routes are good to allow fresh food to be brought in to the city from the surrounding countryside, the people of Magan appreciate salty and smoked foods. Local cheeses, fish (mostly mackerel and herring) brought in to Dulse and Coston, meat and cabbages are salted and/or smoked here. No festival can pass in Maganshire without smoked and salted fish.
28. Temple of Ixion
While not the largest religious following in Magan (some outsiders have commented that residents of Magan throughout the wet, cool summers may come to doubt the very existence of the Sun, let alone a Sun Immortal), this is the largest and wealthiest temple in the city. Built in the New Town, in the form of a constantly flickering star shaped flame (with many permanent illusions emphasising this), two of the wealthiest adventurers in the Duchy have contributed massively to its prominence (Apophis, paladin of Ixion, and Taron, high Patriarch of Ixion for Maganshire).
The river Gan is navigable as far as Magan, and many vessels bringing goods in to the Duchy either unload onto river barges at Coston or sail upriver to the city. The docks area is a constantly bustling, noisy, and vibrant place, but not an area to go alone at night.
30. Hardball Arena
When the Alphatians extended and re-fortified the city, they brought many of their entertainment preferences from home, including hardball. Magan has a small but popular hardball league, centred around the Arena, which can sit around 1000 spectators. The arena also doubles as Magans only theatre.
A well maintained aerodrome was considered to be an important resource during military campaigns against both Thyatis and Heldann, and its position within city walls is unique within Southern Norwold (only Alpha has a similar facility). These days, few flying vessels make regular stops here, but there is a regular service from Draco, and another that calls at Oceansend and Alpha. Magan also serves as an occasional base for Imperial Flying Fleet vessels patrolling the Alphatian Sea and the Sea of Dawn, where usually at least four or five frigates are stationed.
32. Magan Arms (Inn)
Eduardo Silverberg, or 'Ed' to his friends, is an ex-adventuring colleague of the Dukes. It isn't quite clear what Eds profession was; he's shown a capacity for spellcasting, he's certainly a demon with a dagger and staff, but its also obvious that he can handle himself in any fight better than a mage ought to, and he's got a reputation almost equal to Squerglars for picking locks. Ethnically of mixed stock, the son of a rich Alphatian slave merchant and a Jennite slave girl in Skyfyr, Eds Inn is probably the best of those in the New Town.
Ed is passionately opposed to slavery, and has put his not inconsiderable resources (and contacts) into smuggling slaves out of mainland Alphatia and Esterhold. As a result, pockets of Jennite people can be found across Maganshire, making up perhaps the third most numerous human ethnic group.
33. Randy Brewer (Tavern)
While the Magan Arms is perhaps the best establishment in the New Town, the Randy Brewer is undoubtedly the worst. As well as serving the most wicked and dangerous Orcish and Dwarven brews, it is a front for a prostitution racket. However, unknown to the town rulers said prostitution racket is itself merely a front for a small nest of Vampires that claim the Docks area for their own.
34. Griffons Head (Inn)
Notable as an Inn more for its stables than its accommodation, the Griffons Head is the first port of call for discerning travellers requiring a change of mount within the city. The Griffons Head is owned and run by the Ned family (see 38).
This solidly built stone bridge connecting the Old Town from the New Town is flanked on each corner by a tower, the four towers being connected by elevated walkways, and on the Old Town side to the Town Wall; it is in effect a small fortress defending the river crossing. A portcullis exists at each end of the bridge.
Magan is unusual in that it has two enormous but separate fortifications on either side of the river; Magan Castle overlooks Fort Beotach, the inner meander being around 60' higher, the Castle being on a cliff. Outside observers have speculated that Duke Spirrel insisted that the Alphatian Army build their own encampment for their invasion forces, and point at the influence the old Duke had with the Council. The real reason for building the fort, however, is far more surprising (see Magan Castle, to come). Fort Beotach now serves two functions; as a military barracks for the Magan Light Infantry (among the most successful infantry regiments in the Empire) and the Maganshire Heavy Cavalry, as well as squadrons from the Quercus Light Cavalry, and also as a site for entertaining visitors to the Duchy, most importantly delegations from foreign nations. The unusual position of Magan in having both a Ducal castle and a second major fortification, as well as being comfortably at arms length from mainland Alphatia, has led to Magan being selected as the site for major diplomatic negotiations with foreign powers.
The only major extension built on to Fort Beotach since it was completed, Malachite Bridge is named after Duke Obsidians younger brother who died during the overthrow of Emperor Zandor. While strongly fortified, it was built with a strong aesthetic sense, using inlays of green and black semi-precious stones to highlight its form.
38. Old Neds Honest Horse Emporium
The Ned family are as honest as a hobbit is long, but they have maintained a stranglehold over the horse trade in Magan for generations. Originally from Glantri, the Nieduzinzki family changed their name to one more pronounceable in Heldann (and what people had taken to calling them) decades ago. A range of horses is always available here, all for standard prices, but a good eye is needed to pick out a quality steed, you can get a thoroughbred, trained mount for the same price as a nag.
39. Adventurers Arms (inn)
Della Stormhaven, Dwarf of clan Stormhaven, recently invested in a several inns in around the Duchy. They are all clean, cheap, spartan, well run... In short, the locals hate them, but travellers and outsiders can be assured of a good pint, a decent feed, and a nights rest for a nominal fee. Its just that you may well forget which one you're staying in.
40. Gan Street Market
Whereas the main market square is filled with peddlers selling normal market wares (food, trinkets, pots, cloth, beverages, etc.) Gan Street is a place to come to find curiosities and exotic materials. The eventual peace deal struck with the Knights of Vanya and relative peace brought to the region has paid dividends; both over land and ocean trading routes now connect Maganshire with the Known World and further afield, and goods from as far away as Cimarron and Gulch have been spotted for sale here. Gan Street is also where flower sellers of Magan ply their wares.
41. Redbeard Bailey
The most recent addition to Magan Castle, this massive area is kept clear to allow clean lines of fire from the main castle, the wall of the New Town and Fort Beotach. While being a strong fortification in itself it is designed to be abandoned; blind spots on the outer wall are devised such that enemies can expect to make it to the Bailey, break through by means of magic, and funnel their forces towards the main castle. At this point they would be met with the steep climb to the inner, stronger wall and a withering crossfire from all sides.
Personalities of Magan
Obsidian, Duke of Magan
Standing at an average height, with a slight build, long, dark hair, pale skin, and black (almost violet) eyes, Obsidian is the very model of pure Alphatian mage. He is, however, rather 'different'. For a start, his family hit upon hard times when he was young, and rather than being closeted in the family compound in Blackheart to further his studies he was instead sent out to the colonies as apprentice to Lord Spirrel, who was an old friend of the family.
Obsidians adventures will not be repeated at length here (for further details, contact Marilyn, Bard of Magan, Manteis Extraordinaire, All Work Undertaken including Mackerelmas Celebrations). Suffice to say that his rise through the ranks of great mages of Alphatia was cut short due to an unfortunate incident related in some way to the death of Emperor Zandor, but that many consider that Obsidian will shortly be fully rehabilitated, possibly even gaining a place on the Council. Whether tales of Obsidian being among those who saw the battle between Ixion and Rad reach its climax beneath the city of Glantri are true, and whether he did indeed save the entire empire from some doomsday device, are hotly disputed (as are many of Marilyns tales), but suffice to say he has led something of a colourful life. And for a man who chooses wool and velvet rather than spider silk, and whose fashion sense stretches no further than black, that's something of an irony.
Obsidian laughs rarely, but those who know him will often discern a smile, of sorts. He is usually encountered with either his familiar, a wicked looking old raven, and sometimes his wife and children.
Apophis, Paladin of Ixion
Standing at merely five feet and six inches, with an apparent age of 40 (real age 60) Apophis is nearly as wide as he is tall. Always armed and armoured, and with his tanned Thothian colouring and bald head, Apophis is almost a land mark in Magan. As self appointed guardian to the Duke, and well respected paladin and lawbringer, few citizens command more instant respect.
Apophis tries hard to remain serious at all times, but it is clear to the residents of Magan that his heart has never really been so earnest as his demeanour. Hence for a law bringer he commands as much affection as respect. His long term lover, Desira, High Priestess of Valerias, does much to further this image. Apophis served with great courage in the Great War and the Norwold War of Assertion.
Squerglar, Burglar of Tinton
Squerglar is the master thief of Magan. Genuinely asked to leave his small home town in Bellissaria on the grounds that he was too interesting, he regales others with tales of such amazing unlikeliness that he is often mistaken for an idiot. His appearance is striking; he has large eyes, curly stick out hair varying from blonde to strawberry, and a tall, almost lithe build. He always wears a sword (with which he is as good as any other in the Duchy), a large hat, and usually several purses stuffed full of useless items.
On any encounter he may claim to have been sat on by a dragon twice, died three times before breakfast, and had a love affair with an Odic. Or he may instead claim to have been swallowed by a purple worm, worked as a travelling coffee salesman in Frosthome, and lost a belching contest with the old queen of the Wyrmsteeth. And of the above, only one is untrue.
But despite his eccentricities, Squerglar knows more than nearly everyone else about goings on in Maganshire, and he is happy to train worthy apprentices in thievery skills or swordsmanship. Unknown to all but his closest confidants, Squerglar is a were bear.
Thermon, Patriarch of Averyx
As leader of the congregation of the most popular immortal amongst the Alphatian community, Thermon holds a position of influence. Of Thyatian descent, raised in Helskir, he's a big man in every sense of the word. Portly, dark haired, over six feet tall, and sporting a massive brown beard, he is instantly recognisable. Slow to anger, and rather slow to understand what's happening in Magan, he makes up for being just a little slow witted through his great wisdom, charity and compassion.
Not an adventurous sort, but always keen to help out in the defence of the city because its 'the done thing'. Wears a mace because 'that's what clerics wear'.
Desira, High Mistress of Valerias
Of pure Alphatian stock but born and bred in Magan, a tall, slim, elegant lady with a penchant for tight fitting black velvet, she is fiery tempered and passionate; sins in haste, repents with pleasure, the consummate priestess of Valerias. Although despite an apparently self centred lifestyle, hundreds of couples in Maganshire owe their happiness to Desira spotting that they have enough in common to be 'given a little helping hand'. Not the violent sort, more keen to act through the extensive network of informants and lackeys that typify the order of Valerias. Generally acts in an unsubtle, direct manner, which hides the reality that she is in fact at the centre of the greatest network of informants in the Duchy. Seems between 30 and 40 years old, is in fact 80. Romantically engaged with Apophis (although try as she might, she's no more faithful than any other true priestess of Valerias).
Eduardo Siverburg (Ed)
Ed was an adventuring colleague of the Duke, and it is fair to say that Obsidian owes Ed his life many times over. That's probably the only reason why blatant lawlessness (the trafficking of stolen slaves out of Alphatia, through Maganshire, the manufacture of false documents showing them to be freemen) is allowed. Ed trained as a mage and as an assassin, he is thus skilled in the arts of rapid movement (dimension doors, teleports, etc.), subterfuge (illusions, invisibility, etc.) and rapid killing. No one in the county is more skilled with the dagger, and Ed inherited Spirrels famous Elemental Quartet of magical blades.
The front for his trafficking organisation is an inn, the Adventurers Arms, although he is careful to meet accomplices elsewhere.
Ed looks around 50 years old, and has a penchant for fine clothes and good wine which gives others the impression that he may be past it, perhaps a soft touch. The reality is, however, very different; age and time have hardened Ed, he's a cold hearted, determined man with a real purpose in life.
Ed has short, red-blonde hair, and looks generally fairly Alphatian with just a hint of Jennite blood. His blue eyes rarely give anything away.
Leucretia, The Noisette
A common Alphatian mage who would rather have been born a pure Alphatian; as a result she uses cosmetic magic to keep her hair black, and her skin pale. She is no longer a permanent resident of Magan, but she does maintain a house here and can often be found in the city. Unknown to most residents who meet her, Leucretia is a necromancer of huge renown (4th circle), although her route into necromancy and her reasons for becoming so very good at it are not quite what people usually expect.
Leucretia is 'misunderstood', or a 'dangerous, evil, scheming, bitch', depending on who you are. She started to research necromancy to bring back a fallen adventuring companion or, at least, to determine why no priest could resurrect him. One of her adventuring companions, a priest of Ixion named Taron (of which more later) did not take well to this, and a rift in the adventuring party led, eventually, to Leucretia going her own way. This was not until well after both had joined a secret society based in the Hollow World, namely, the Order of the Lighthouse. Both being members of an organisation that seeks to collect and record information to store for possible use to defend civilisation against the ultimate effects of entropy means that they still sometimes come in to contact, which inevitably leads to hostility.
While Leucretia may have gone into necromancy with the best of intentions, she has subsequently become rather more enthusiastic about the whole thing. She's not so much pro-undead, as no longer vehemently opposed to the undead. She understands the problem with undead preying on the living, but she sees a need for balance between life and un-life, and as she has met and enjoyed the company of many intelligent, powerful undead creatures, she doesn't see the battle between 'light' and 'darkness' in such clear terms any more.
While not in control of the nest of vampires in Magans docks, she is both esteemed and feared by them. Leucretia, more than any of the forces of good in Magan, keeps the vampires in check.
Meg of Wheaton, Housekeeper to the Duke
Magan is a bustling, busy town, and very often VIPs arrive in the town with no notice at all, expecting full hospitality of a standard that would be acceptable in Alphatia. That requires that the castle be run to a very strict order, and it is Meg who oversees this.
She's a portly old lady, going a bit blind in one eye after decades of service in the castle. She has a voice like a rusty gate and a right hook like a mystic, and having kept generations of young adventurers in check (as they come and go through the castle Kitchens, using the back entry to see whoever is Duke at the time to do whatever little jobs he has devised for them) she doesn't take any lip, from anyone. Including the Duke. She rules the roost in the castle with an iron fist and a wickedly swung hot steel ladle.
Some outsiders have asked why each new Duke (who has always been terrorised by Meg at some point or other prior to attaining that title) puts up with her. It is when things become difficult that her tremendous powers as a housekeeper come in to play. At an hours notice she'll conjure up a banquet for 20, give her a day and she'll organise a four remove meal for 100 a la Glantrienne... Give her three and she can do it a la Darokinienne. Through times of hardship, famine, war and entropic incursion, Meg keeps the castle running smoothly, and everyone in it well fed. This is enough to tolerate even her obsession with solving every household problem with vinegar.
Nobody knows how old Meg is. No one dares ask. Probably the wrong side of 70. And in every way, she's local.
Jack, Sewer Man
Or, as the locals call him, Sewer Jack.
The Alphatians are often accused of being more interested in the shiny buildings above ground, often appearing overnight and falling down in a month, than they are in stable, sensibly engineered cities. Magan is different; it is built upon a well thought out, well planned, substantial sewer system. And, of course, having such a well laid out subterranean tunnel network underneath a city on Mystara is just asking for trouble...
So why does Magan not have, say, an established colony of were-rats, or subterranean sewer goblins? Well, this is where the genius of an old wizard and engineer named Plumbum stands out. Magans sewers were constructed such that river water can be brought in, at any one of a dozen points, to thoroughly wash out any part of the system. And it is designed to happen fast, to wash out even the most stubborn blockages or monsters. And this system is run by the Jack family, who for five generations have scurried to the valves to solve every sewage or water flow problem in the city. Heir apparent to Jack Jack is his son, John Jack.
Enterprising adventurers have often tried to bribe Jack to be given access to tunnels leading to their desired location; each time, they have ended up in the swamp two and a half miles to the South of the city, where outflow drains through reed beds, and where some of the more nasty marsh birds of Norwold wait for tasty titbits. The Jacks are as honest, upstanding, and moral as the day is long.
Augustus, Count Quercus
Quercus is arguably Maganshires second city (although a good argument could also be made for Coston). Augustus, ethnically a common Alphatian mage but in terms of attitude and breeding as aristocratic as you can get, is the Count, but by inheriting from a previous ruled an excellent support network, and by judicious spending on improved trade links with Magan, he has few arduous duties there. He prefers spending his free time in his town house opposite the Temple of Ixion in Magan (where he keeps his library and laboratory), and the family estate in New Sundsvall (the restoration of which cost him much of his adventuring fortune).
Augustus is ageless; he could be 20, he could be 50, you can't quite tell through the make up, hair, and robes. He's a tourist as much as he is an adventurer. While he has a kind of cold, clinical, and highly effective approach towards dealing with any problems he may encounter (so long as they can be solved with magic), he's actually quite likeable man, and most people who get through the layers of aristocratic, imperialist veneer discover that the imperialist aristocrat underneath is both honourable and decent.
Augustus and his adventuring colleagues are all loosely based in Maganshire; he is perhaps closest to Clarissa Montoya, Countess of Twolakes Vale*, although he is certainly as close to Taron (priest of Ixion, based up in Hamsterley) as anyone is allowed, and he holds Della Stormhaven (clanholder of Stormhaven)** in equal high regard. While his ambitions here in Magan are still to be fully realised, he has long since cast his eyes further afield; he sees immortality as the next rational career move, and has begun setting certain things in motion to further this aim.
Tales of Augustus's adventuring exploits are so tangled and intertwined with those of his adventuring friends that is hard to pick out those for which he alone is most famous. One would be the now legendary Augustus Manoeuvre, since taught at the Imperial College and the Red Fleet Flying Navy Academy. During the Norwold War of Assertion, Augustus and his colleagues had commandeered a small flying ship which they named Irusalem, which was spotted by the frigate HIS Anemone which gave chase. The chase lasted for many hours, with the superior manoeuvrability of the Irusalem being countered by the greater speed of the HIS Anemone. After nearly 24 hours of pursuit, the Irusalem was caught against the skyshield with nowhere left to run, and had suffered damage to her rigging that restricted her manoeuvrability. Anemone had her conventional artillery still intact, and with those weapons could out-range the spellcasters on Irusalem. Thus the battle could now only have one inevitable outcome; Anemone would slowly batter her foe into submission.
Augustus took one final gamble; he teleported onto the deck of Anemone, pointed his wand of disintegration straight up, and blew a hole in the skyshield. Anemone was not braced for this, she had insufficient momentum to make it through the gap before the skyshield closed on her, and the sudden impact caused the loss of the mizzen and main masts, dismounting of her artillery, and loss of dozens of crewmen. Augustus, somehow, survived, and during the confusion that followed escaped back to the Irusalem, which then limped away from the crippled Anemone.
Augustus favours use of create monsters spells and disintegrate to solve most of his problems. He has studied more monsters, alive or dead, than any other mage in Norwold. And only his very closest confidants know that his is Mystaras only cryptomancer (although his studies are difficult because of a lack of tuition; he's effectively a third circle cryptomancer).
Throm, Tax Collector, Deputy Head of the Inland Revenue
Throm rather enjoys gold, as any good Dwarf should. And he likes counting it, and sitting next to it, and stroking it... He like gold. He doesn't particularly care whether its his or not, he just likes it.
He thought that he would be a good adventurer, as after all, that's a good way to get lots of gold. But he kept nearly dying trying to get gold (on one occasion running below deck on a sinking ship, wearing armour, because his gold was in the hold, an experience that he and his colleagues barely survived). Upon return to Magan, his cousin Grom suggested a steady desk job, in the Revenue service.
Dwarves make up the backbone of Magans tax system, and Throm has risen through their ranks to be the 'hit man' for the tax office. If you don't pay your taxes then Grom will ask you nicely, before Throm and 'the boys' turn up to issue legal warnings. The way Throm sees it, he'll do whatever he needs to avoid hurting people, but what's fair is fair, and its only fair to pay taxes.
Tax officers in Magan are a hard working, hard drinking, raucous lot. Throm is the archetypal Magan tax man.
Marilyn, Manteis Bard of Lower Caltia
North of the Great Bay lies the land of Caltia; nominally Alphatian but in reality a land where there are so few permanent settlements that no real authority higher than the head of household or clan is recognised. But it is a land where a certain 'natural order' pertains, and from an Alphatian perspective that means it is where the spellcasters rule. For while there are no mages, priests or druids as such, it is the land of the Manteis.
Calts have no written language, so no written history, yet they maintain tales of great deeds and warriors for generations. That is the role of the Manteis, which most closely translates as Bard, but the Manteis is a spiritual and moral leader as well as history keeper and healer. Marilyn, as a young Mantesis, was obliged to travel to create her own tales of adventure and heroism, and she chose to travel in Southern Norwold (or, lower Caltia). Here, she encountered a young Calic warrior named Beotach, who was immediately hostile to her. Beotach was 'without enech', or in other words outcast and kinless. Intrigued, Marilyn travelled recording the exploits of Beotach (and his comrades through the years Kiethsara, Obsidian, Apophis, Bethany, Snik, Juiven, her lover Rhodacter, and many others). Now the 'Epic of Beotach' is a near legendary piece charting his exile, his time as a gladiator, his rise to become Duke, and his eventual demise at the hands of his ex-colleague and former apprentice of Spirrel, Fredegar.
Her presence in Maganshire became all the more important when the Southernmost Caltic Shrine, in Twolakes Vale, was defiled and replaced with a temple to entropic immortals and a gateway to the Sphere of Entropy*). Alongside Clarissa Montoya, the Count of Twolakes Vale, she has worked tirelessly to restore the ancient stone circle to its former potency, and has subsequently become master of the Ley Lines of Norwold, and is able to work their powers to her own effect.
Marilyn owns and lives on a farm to the West of Magan, alongside her cousin Marlene and several other apprentice Manteis. She's tall, blonde, blue eyed, charismatic, and at all times willing to use whatever charms she has.
*Temple of the Stars, CM2.
Clarissa Montoya, Viscount Gollim, Baroness of the TwoLakes
A raven haired beauty from Darokin, Clarissa set out to see the world without any real ambitions. She took up with some adventurers she met in Magan, who were lacking in having someone of the roguish persuasion, end never looked back.
At the point where it became clear that the rest of the party was settling down, even (in Tarons case) starting families, she felt that she ought to do likewise, and the vacant barony of Two Lakes Vale was the ideal opportunity for her. While maintaining her town house in Magan (which can be found in the Old Town), she has also completely renovated the tower at Gollim and rebuilt Skullheim Pass castle, populating it with a group of lupins who have long held her in high esteem.
It is still hard to discern what Clarissa aims to do; she has drifted on in her life certainly to the point where she is the most skilled thief in Norwold, but when asked all she has to say is that her ambition is 'to be queen and have everyone love her'; depending on whether or not becoming ruler of Maganshire is part of Augustus plan, she may almost be half way towards fulfilling these ambitions.
People and Culture of Maganshire
The majority population in Maganshire is human, although there are communities of elves (known in Norwold as the Foresthomes), a dwarven clan (Stormhaven*), a village named Wistle populated by halflings nominally of the same shire as distant Leeha*, and a gnomish clan living in and around the village of Hamsterly on the Hill, having settled around the shattered remains of their Earthshaker**. There are also smaller communities of lupins (concentrated in the North of the Duchy, in Twolakes Vale***, and mountain rakasta, who are more numerous in the Wyrmsteeth range, but who are common visitors in Tinton and Silverton. Humanoids of various types are common in the mountainous and hilly areas, although they are not generally considered 'citizens' in the common sense.
Humans of Maganshire
Most humans in Maganshire (around 60%) are ethnically Heldann; they are a blonde, fair skinned and fair haired people, similar to those found in the Heldann Freeholds and not dissimilar to the people of the Northern Reaches (referred to, in Norwold, as the Fjiordlands). The next most numerous group is the Alphatians, making up around 30% of the population, and they are identifiable as 'pure' and 'common' Alphatians, although there are a few families of Thothian, Yannifey and Jennite (Esterhold) descent. The remaining 20% are a mixture of Caltic (red haired people from North of the Great Bay), Thyatian, and rather mixed stock. While it is the Heldann people who perhaps have the best claim to be indigenous, the varied populace of Maganshire reflects the long history of colonisation by Alphatians and Thyatians, as well as close historical trading connections with Caltia.
The human culture of Maganshire is a complex and chaotic mixture of traditions and ideas. A little of this can be discerned from the assorted immortals that are worshipped. The most commonly followed immortals among the Heldann people are Odin and Thor, although other members of the Northern Reaches pantheon are rarely worshipped. But the immortals revered by the Alphatian ruling class are also widely acknowledged as important in the local pantheon. Alphatia, Koryis and Palartarkan are most prominent, and there is a particular Alphatian immortal to the region not widely followed outside of Norwold, Averyx. As in other regions, those immortals most associated with carnal or elemental forces are appreciated by all (Valerias and Ixion are worshipped across the Duchy). Few of the immortals prominent in Thyatis are followed here. Vanya, after decades of war with the Heldannic Knights, is particularly hated.
In the mountainous West and North of the Duchy, the dragon gods feature heavily; this is unsurprising in any community existing in the shadow of the Wyrmsteeth range.
In any culture there are always those who revere the darker forces. Magan is no exception. Nyx has a strong following in the towns, the Heldann people believing that she chooses from among them the most wretched and wicked to become undead, as a curse to all who have allowed evil to prosper in their communities. Alphaks, of course, is popular amongst those who desire an end to Alphatian rule. But more worryingly, a small but seemingly ineradicateable cult of Arik has a foothold in the Duchy, and their depravity presents a constant problem for local rulers.
The Calts bring no particular belief structure to Maganshire; their relationship with a complex pantheon of immortals is poorly understood by outsiders, and the Manteis rulers are happy to keep it that way. If pressed, they may profess a certain respect for certain of the immortals such as Terra, Ixion, Valerias, Thor, Ka and Protius.
Food, Festivals and Celebrations in Maganshire
The fertile plains of lowland Maganshire produce ample grain, livestock and vegetables to feed the Duchy, and excellent meat is produced, salted, and exported from the village of Butchers Cross. The local growing conditions favour brassicas and root crops, and no meal in Magan is complete without side dishes of boiled cabbage, skirret, salsify, beetroot, kale or turnips. Game birds are plentiful in the forests in the North of the county, and fruits such as apples, pears, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cloudberries, black currants, quinces, bilberries, and plums are produced in abundance. But none of these define the local diet; what makes Maganshire the culinary black hole of the Empire is all of the fish.
The local Heldann people are mad for fish, most especially oily fish. Indeed, the most important festival of the year, Mackerelmas, is a moveable feast governed by the reappearance of shoals of Mackerel. The arrival of Mackerelmas is not even a set date each year across the whole Duchy, it is a spontaneous celebration in each town and village when the first fresh mackerel of Spring arrive. Thus it may be celebrated in Dulse, several days before it is celebrated in Tinton (although whether said mackerel is 'fresh' when it reaches the mountains is another matter). Mackerelmas is a fertility festival, greeted with song, dance, and usually some more active fertility rites (indeed, in some villages, it is considered the height of rudeness to refuse to participate in said 'rites'). In Dulse, a virgin girl is taken out onto the sea in a fishing boat decorated with spring flowers, and swims with the mackerel to greet them. In Sutton this tradition is repeated, but here it is considered bad luck if the girl has not subsequently married by the end of the year (making selection of the right girl for this job rather fraught).
The glut of fresh mackerel and herring lasts through spring into late summer, during which time as much fish as can be spared is salted, smoked, dried or brined to last through winter. Thus, even the most ardent fish loving visitor is likely to be fed up with mackerel within three days of arrival.
After Mackerelmas, the next most important local ceremony is Midsummer. Different villages and towns have slightly different ceremonies for this day, but most follow a roughly similar theme to that observed in Magan. Here, the local druid selects a young man (either an apprentice or journeyman craftsman) who is dressed in wool from this years shearings, from head to toe. He is then carried to the town gates, and everyone present coats him with burrs from burdock plants. This 'burry man' then travels through the streets, calling in at as many ale houses and hostelries as he wishes, until he either passes out on free drink or he makes it out of the other side of the city. Everyone stops to watch and cheer on the procession, which ends with a bonfire outside the city walls. Note that this festival is very similar to that encountered in the twin cities if Llanderris and Llandwydir, well to the North and West of the Duchy, only in those cities the Burry Man is burned to death within the bonfire.
Midwinter day is greeted with a great celebration of the immortals; no matter which immortal one follows, this is a day for feasting and drinking in Maganshire. Typically, people try to be with their families and loved ones to sit out the worst part of winter, which is usually at this time yet to come.
Other festivals are rather more varied across the Duchy, often being confined to single villages or areas, with little clear comprehension even in the next village, as to what is going on. A good example would be the annual Pig Chase, which is a contest between the villages of Hometon and Rivalton. A pig is chosen just after harvest, in the village of Otherton which lies between the two. Young men from Hometon and Rivalton compete to get the pig to their own village squares, with a time limit of three days. Most years, the pig does not survive the initial fist fight, but every generation or so a winner emerges, and it is considered a great honour for the village that has won, until the next time someone wins. Refereeing this bloody engagement is the job of the druids.
Lets see if this works; Maganshire, a little old this map by campaign terms, but still correct (map from AC1037)
Southern Norwold AC1040