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Port Gorodby religon
Dangerous Persons & Fauna of the Southern Riverfork Woods>
I have had a few requests for more info on a Flickr album regarding my treatment of the old Eric Holmes city of "Portown" and the "Sample Dungeon" under the ruined Tower of Zenopus. I call the town "Port Gorod" as Gorod is the Russian word for Town and port is simply port. It seems more in keeping with Karameikos.
Basic Street Layout adapted from the work of paleologos (Demos)… with his permission. The map is loosely based on the medieval Aegean port-town of La Canea (Chania, Crete)... likely from the old Frederik de Wit rendering.
Look closely and one can see hope I have integrated the various aspects of the Sample Dungeon into the city.
Portown Holmes Zenopus: From the early (1978) version of D&D written by Dr. Eric Holmes, this is the iconic Portown.
Portown with Sample Dungeon
Portown Zenopus Old City
The Underground Ancient City referenced by Holmes has yet to be mapped by me, but I sketched how I plan to integrate these ruins as a large dungeon on the 5th map. The elevations may prove tricky to avoid the water table, but I think I'll have enough room. I have slightly modified fanon from Threshold #1 to identify this ruin as the ancient Hutaaka-Human town of "Demeion" from the Traldar Golden Age.
Following will be my notes on the town. They are stream-of-conscious and break with fanon in many places, but they only violate canon when intended to do so.
Some areas are better fleshed out that others, but there is a lot here. I use Port Gorod as a starter town.
The Sample Dungeon is the starting point. I have never had a party venture into the Ancient City. PC's tend to get drawn into the swamps, the pirate shoals or to distant lands after 2nd level or so.
(Portown in the Common Tongue)
1 - The Old Lighthouse. Despite the rare berthing of ships, this lighthouse remains functional. It was built on the ruins of a temple to Dagon. All that remained of the ancient structure was the stone foundation, upon which the early townsfolk built a lighthouse to guide ships into the harbour. The keeper is an elderly recluse individual who lives alone in the ground quarters. He is paid a meager stipend on his monthly forays into town by the town fathers.
2 - The Old Graveyard. This unkempt hallowed plot has some of the oldest graves in Karamekios. Unlike the cemetery (#3), bodes are not exhumed and moved to the New Cemetery (#25) from The Old Graveyard. Few of the names are still legible, but the townsfolk feel that these are their roots and the area remains undisturbed. The area is best avoided due to a heavy wharf rat infestation. Traditional Traldaran people are highly superstitious and would give this area wide berth even without the rats.
3 - The Cemetery. These graves, tombs and mausoleums remain in active use. Unlike the graveyard, the cemetery is surrounded by a stone wall punctuated by wrought-iron gates. Every 20 years or so, the cemetery becomes so crowded that the oldest bodies are exhumed and moved to The New Cemetery (#25) near the brackish quagmire(#33) to the southeast of town.
4 - The old Servant's Quarters. A few overgrown stones in a low clump surround stairs into the depths of the hill. It looks as if at one point wooden boards covered the entrance, but they have long since been removed and rot to one side of the entrance. Rangers or dwarves can easily tell that the entrance is used with some frequency. This is the entrance to the famed "Sample Dungeon" designed in 1977 by noted D&D game developer J. Eric Holmes.
5 - The Ruins of Zenopus Tower.
6 - The marine entrance to the dungeons below the ruins of Zenopus tower are accessed through a natural cave in the sea cliffs south of the Four Sisters. While not knowing their extent, fishermen know of the entrance, but will not risk the dangerous shoals and currents of this part of the coast.
7 - Fishermen's Quarter. The fishing boats are typically moored on the wharf, but repairs to nets, dry docking and fishmongers operate from this area. A few "grog stalls" selling beer and stronger liquors are located here. The overwhelming smell of drying fish on great racks and women gutting fish make this a quarter that those with a choice don't tarry within.
8 - The Harbor Master. Ships making berth need to check in here and pay the mooring fee. About the only shipping is local fishing boat. By far the most common boat type are dhows (the shallow-draft boats in Halag mentioned in Dragon #206). When something has little chance of happening locals refer to it as a "a caravel's chance." The harbor is just shallow enough for caravel ships, but one or two will dock each year as the harbor was dredged 36 years ago under the supervision of Quarlov Lazu. The rare larger ship anchors offshore in the uncertain shallows of the Gulf of Halag. Dhows are contracted to offload cargo on larger ships. The Harbor Master is too clever to inquire about ships in the Pirate's Mooring. While it is a hard spot to see from town, he generally catches wind within a few hours when a mysterious new ship anchors there.
9 - Warehouses.
10 - This is the town square, with the town hall on the north side of the square. This is where important announcements are declared.
11 - The crowded tenement district. Only a few narrow street winds through the area. The rest is a maze of claustrophobic alleyways and crowded, filthy tenements. Free non-humans are only allowed to live in this area.
Some persons of note:
Red Erzsébet: formerly of Specularum. Former lover of Admiral Hyraksos. May be used as adventuring hook if DM wishes players to travel to Specularum.
Knord: a Northman who now hires on with a fishermen and as a day laborer. Yearns to return home.
Imre the Huntsman(F2): Affordable as a guide, but lacks courage.
Young István (T1): This 14 yr. old urchin was abandoned by his father. His father (T5) is now in Specularum as a Street of Dreams thug leader. (Dungeon#13 Of Nests and Nations, p. 60); suggested father's name: János Tourski. (Possible travel hook.)
Bubba: an aging ogre with his Liberty Medallion.
12 - The Green Dragon Inn is in a slightly better part of town, and is one of the buildings around a small square. The homes in and around this area are where some of the wealthier citizens live (including Lemunda the Lovely's father)
13 - Woodworkers Collective: Five local tradesmen share this warehouse covered in sawdust and partially contracted wooden items… a cooper, a cartwright, a joiner (i.e. furniture) and two framing builders share this space. The joiner, Mapk Rudin… a squat man in his 30's with a wide face, is well-connected with the Blacks, willing to launder money and use his skills for nefarious schemes. Sándor Szendrey, a portly builder starting to show his age, is widely favored for his rich singing voice. His work has long been favored, but he is no long at his best. He has some stature in the community as he often sings in public ceremonies and festivals.
14 - The Market Square: Every Piacnap (Soladain/4th day of Traladaran workweek), a traditional Traladaran marketing day, locals display wares in the market from the wee hours of morning. For many, this is the only day of the week that goods are bought and sold. Some locals pack up and go about their day after mid-morning and some continue to sell wares until evening. In the early mornings, except for Pihenésnap, the day of rest, rustics meet here with donkeys in tow to trek out into the field to the southeast or into the swamps to the north.
15 - The Bazaar. is where many of the more exotic products (and services) can be found. It is centered within a part of the city where most foreigners reside.
16 - Town Square
20 - Engraved stone: There is a low-lying limestone slab about 20-inches by 30 inches overgrown with moss. Only a 1-in-6 chance spots this slab. The moss must be scraped off and an intelligence check made to read the nearly unintelligible writing. It read, "Dangerous, bonded creatures must be shackled at all times. Elf-chains available at the livery."
31 - The Brewery: Owned by one of the tallest (6' 7"), most slender (122 lbs) humans in the nation, Iosif Dracul relies on his enslaved dwarvish brewmaster to keep the beer flowing. Lachlan, a dwarvish non-combatant, is assisted by two surly lizardmen. A few of Iosif's shiftless relatives also work seasonally at the brewery. The common grog produced uses Kna-rod roots from the swamp to fuel fermentation. Hops are grown south of town over the ruins of the old keep. Most beer is brewed for locals from their own produce. The brewery keeps 20%. Most is sold to the "grog stalls" of the fisherman's quarter, the Green Dragon Inn and by the keg to locals. A dreadful beer, even the locals are barely willing to drink this draft. Lachlan's pride is his vodka. He is unable to make the quantities the town demands, but it is quite excellent. It is unclear what the taciturn Lachlan thinks of his bondage. He is perhaps the only dwarf slave in all of Karameikos. He has a modicum of respect in his position.
37 - Basket Weavers: This open-sided building is crammed full of woven baskets of utilitarian design. Large, floppy baskets for transporting agricultural wares via donkey, pitched baskets for liquids, and woven sleeves for securing amphora to the backs of donkeys.
38 - The Pottery: This lot is piled high with earthenware pots and vessels. Most are gray or terra-cotta in color with white calcification from the weather. The most common vessel is a simple amphora, a Roman trade ceramic. Large amphora as tall and a man and common ones less than a foot tall may be purchased. One for spirits holding 41 quarts are very common. Piles of glazed green tiles used for more prosperous locals as roofing are also pile here. These tiles are the source of the phrase "good as green" by the locals. It means, "I am trustworthy as I live in a tile-roofed house." Small tiled buildings in the back of the lot house workshops and a kiln.
39 - Livery: As there are few beasts of burden in Port Gorod, this livery is probably unlike others the party may have visited. Two iron cells along one wall serve as both a town jail and to restrain monsters or slaves. The bunks in these two cells are clearly for humanoids. A third larger cell is oversized and generally empty. It can accommodate a single ogre-sized creature but has no bedding. The cheerful operator of the livery is Levi Danko. He has a grippli slave that often hides in the barn loft and rafters. He is rarely glimpsed by patrons. Levi's family lives in the tenements.
Donkeys— 1-4: as rolled 5-6: none.
Mules— 1-3: none; 4: 1; 5: 2; 6: 1d4
Horse— 1: a pony; 2: a draft nag; 3: a riding nag; 4: a palfry; 5-6: none
1-in-6 chance to have a slave— 1-2: grippli; 3-4: lizardman; 5: bogling; 6: ogre
If foreigners arrive with elves or dwarves, they are asked to escort them into the cells after removing their arms. There will be consequences if the elves or dwarves resist. The High Sheriff, Tamás Nikoli, will be summoned and likely arrive within 45 minutes. He will inquire about the legal status and paperwork for such creatures. Any document that is even semi-authentic looking will pass. A written statement from a cleric of any reputable church is valid. The document simply needs to claim free status for a dwarf or elf. Free elves are not allowed in Port Gorod. Dwarves or elves are not permitted to own weapons of any kind. Elves in bondage must be kept on a leash or have their legs shackled. There is a charge of 5 gps. to do so at the livery. Undocumented elves or dwarves may be issued a temporary bondage license for 40 gps. It lasts for 2 months. The 'master' of the creature is responsible to the restraint and actions of the creature while in Port Gorod. A paper and a metal tag to be bolted to leg shackles are issued. Such creatures are attractive targets for slavers since they know the courts often rule such missing creatures as escapees.
53 - Town Reeve: Giaus Fabius; The reeve can be found here about one-third of the time. If he isn't here, asking of the local fishmongers stand about a 50% of gleaning his location. He goes out to Steeplefall about one day in six. He collects very few taxes of the local farmers... probably only 25% of what is due. He understands that it would lead to extreme privation if he did so and he fears retribution from certain local people is he did so. When in town, he has a habit of visiting the harbor master to chat.
68 - Iosif Dracul's home. The local proprietor's aging complex houses 4 familes: his own, his brother's family, his aging uncle and his spinster daughters and a cousin's family. At least the cousin and his son help at the brewery. Iosif is involved in a blood feud with Slovork Nitvick for a past legal dispute. While friendly with his distant cousin Ivan Dracul, he avoids association with the Unseens. His neutrality does not prevent rumors to the contrary.
69 - Smith: Luthor Hroghelmm: this former warrior of the famed "Warriors for Hire" acts as Ajax's agent here in town. The Guildhall is located in Athenos. Born in the Empire of Darokin, this beast of a man only recalls smattering bits of information on his homeland. Luthor has yet to secure new talent or secure a contract for the Warriors. His income is exclusively from smith-work. He is skilled, but just keeps the creditors at bay. It is a poorly kept secret that he keeps three wives ages 17, 33 and 49. He has no children and will quickly anger is probed in this area. Local authorities ignore his bigamy. Luthor is about 53, but still an imposing man. He would be a F2 today (S: 18, I: 9, W: 7, D: 11, C: 14, C: 14; hps: 14). He would dare not adventure again, but may compete in feats of strength.
70 - Market Stalls: These narrow, tiny buildings have an assortment of individuals catering to locals... a leatherworker, candlemaker, baker, butcher, guide service (huntsman), donkey sales, knife sharpener, etc.
73 - The High Sheriff, Tamás Nikoli (F4): The sheriff can be found here about half the time. He issues permits, collects fees and settles municipal tax problems. He issues permits, collects fees and settles local tax problems. A young clerk named Gustof works 3 days each week. He is actually quite helpful with administrative tasks, but unable to deal with criminal issues. Tamás is difficult to find if not here.
80 - Church of Traladara
81 - Need to specify
82 - Need to specify
87 - Granary: This building of dry-stacked stone sits on stone pillars two feet off the ground to help prevent vermin infestation.
94 - Cooper: a modest business... lots of old unsold stock stacked against the dwelling. The wife, Dorottya Sándorné, is a descendant of the Koriszegy family that built the infamous keep about 150 years ago (XS1: Luln by RC Pinnell, p. 5; Kingdom of Karameikos, p. 87). She has some worthless old papers she inherited, but she may just throw them out. Use this woman as a hook if the PC's are ready for the Dragonsfoot fan module, DF23: The Haunted Keep. She knows very little about her family history as her branch of the family relocated over 100 years ago. The family keeps a lizardman slave, a female often found in a shed shaving staves for barrels.
108 Reader's Row
These rude wooden town-homes have the offices for a number of businesses demanding literacy. They are modest and cramped.
Márton the Bookkeeper (MU4) This clever man of neutral alignment missing his calling as a scholar. He is somewhat resentful of his need to earn his principal income from accounting and shepherding real estate transactions. He has a very modest library, but does know number of first and second level spells. He is willing to serve as a teacher for wizards of any alignment for coin. He so enjoys the company of other practitioners that he overlooks the student's ethical shortcomings. His wife is from a family of rustics south of Trov. His children are notably common in their intellect. He keeps a menial grippli that he is quite fond of. Cruu-koon has escaped and been recaptured twice.
Attorney Yulian Polenov (Dracul; Unseen Stooge); a well-to-do litigator with an exceptional reputation for duplicity.
Attorney Trofim Ptolemisus: A zealot for the Church of Traladara. He is the preferred advocate in land and fishery disputes. He refuses to represent any case that he believes involved in the affairs of either the Blacks or the Unseen. He is barely able to support his wife, two young boys and tithe properly.
106 - Attorney Slovork Nitvick & wife Shelia. Attorney Nitvick is the most prosperous of the town's attorneys. He represents the Artho's interests and is will to protect Reavers and Hounds for the Blacks in criminal affairs. Shelia is a shrill, unstable woman. Her brother features in the module B12: The Queen's Harvest as the villanous mercenary commander Merkul (F3). She is a strong, handsome woman with black hair and blue eyes.
114 - Peasant Immanuil: A prosperous rustic, his wife is the town's midwife. Nadezhda is a prolific source of gossip. To outsiders, she loves to tell the story of Dame Leda Lazu. She will also relate rumors from Darokin City, but they are years out of date. She is less forthcoming with the gossip of locals, but it can be easily pried from her mouth.
Hamil Koriszegy: A local peasant. He is pragmatic and hard-working. While he happens to descend from the tragic family of Koriszegy Keep, he has never left Port Gorod. He has a moderately large family and lives with two unmarried sisters and a fat, jolly wife. His oldest son is of great help.
141 - These monoliths are 10" tall. (Please refer to the movie So This is Spinal Tap for conversion clarification.)
142 - The Old Keep: Today there are trellises growing hops on this hilltop ruin. A lovely spot.
143 - The Old Mine: The entrance to the mine faces north, towards the swamp. It is overgrown with brush. The mine caved in long ago, but parents warn their children away as snakes, spiders and other fearful creatures from the swamp are attracted to the mines. A careful inspection may suggest that the mines are more active than originally thought.
144 - The Old Bell: Inscribed "2217†" (AC 441) and "Ban György Hojah, Most Enlightened". This bell was cast and gifted to the town shortly before the Hojah clan left Traladara due to religious heresies. A Ban is an old title of nobility.
145 - The Statue: Statue to Andreas von Hendricks, the Baron of Halag. Dated AC 952, this modest bronze statue signaled increased interest from the Baron in the town of Port Gorod and great plans for the future. The adventures and intrigues of the Baron for the next decade derailed his plans but the statue remains. While not a source of resentment, few would dare deface the statue lest the heavy hand of the current Baron came down on Portown.
The Weather and the Smell
A mild Mediterranean climate, this town gets lots of rain. Rains generally blow in from sea, but the Four Sisters (hilly ridges) break some of the strongest wind gusts. Fog rolls into town nearly every evening. It dissipates about an hour after sunup unless it is extremely cloudy. The sulfurous smells from the swamp, the fisheries, the ever-present molds and musty, damp wooden smells are pervasive. It is believed when Baron von Hendricks first stepped ashore in this town in AC 974 that his face twisted in disgust. Although he largely ignores the Port Gorod, he is quick to deride any and everything of the town with a derisive remark about the stench. Today he only values the cruel young men they send into his service.
Dogs are very rare in this town. They eat too much and are a favored food of lizardmen. Cats wander the streets day and night. Many are feral and they are considered a nuisance by most everyone. They are hard=pressed to keep the rodents in check and keep many of the smaller lizards out of the town. Horses are not typically kept for lack of good pasturage and that they are not nimble enough to negotiate the rugged paths in and out of town. Donkeys kept in communal paddocks to the north of town are the principal beast of burden. A few mules are kept in Steeplefall village for plowing and heavier work. The occasional bird or small monkey will be kept as a pet. Chickens wander the streets. Some households have small coops made of woven brush and stakes on the outer wall of town, but they have a habit of getting raided by both teens and other creatures.
Cruelty of the Youth of Port Gorod
The town is largely isolated from other communities. Sources of amusement are limited in this town. It is socially acceptable for youth to pit small animals against one another in deadly contests that would be condemned by a modern person. Kicking a cat or even young boys wagering on tomcats thrown into a barrel are not uncommon sites. It is this propensity for cruelty that encourages the Baron to recruit troops from this town and leave local governance of this economic non-entity largely to themselves.
Fort Doom, formerly Halag (8,100) I conclude that some published works on Karameikos combine the populations of Halag, Portown, Steeplefell and Duum Beach. The TSR published maps of Fort Doom look to be less populous than 10,000 people indicated in the gazetteer. I have selected 8,100 as the population to keep the Gulf Coast population close to published sources.
Duum Beach... Called Doom Beach during the Baron's reign (400)
Stivov Mine: Moved about 12 miles east from earlier fan maps. This is an actual mining town from some fan sources. I have selected both iron and salt as the resource. Salt for the narrative possibility of being enslaved in a salt mine and iron for practical necessity as the Black Eagle militarizes.
Luln: A town that has recently grown in both size and importance. While Luln has many Traladaran residents, the Thyatian influence is enormous compared to the Gulf Coast. There are few Traladaran families of stature in Luln... mostly refugees from old families from the Gulf Coast. While most of the Gulf Coast Traladaran families have lost their wealth, they have not entirely lost their clout in local municipal matters. The Thyatians dominate Luln economically.
Steeplefall... Templomtorony-Esik in Traladaran: this village lies a mere 2 miles east of town in the midst of a cleared agricultural area.
The Blight Swamp
"The Blight Swamp is an area of dead and decaying trees and foliage infested with disease-bearing mosquitoes and other less healthy creatures that swim just below the surface of the slimy and scum-coated waters." (From: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos)
Families From Fan Works or Canon With Halag and Gulf Coast ties
surnames from Halag (Dragon article): Finster, Trakador, Dilandrov (from Luln), Osaga (long-time boatwrights)
surnames from Halag (DDA3): Montescu (enslaved alchemist)
surnames from Halag: Artho clan (sea trade)... related to Radu. Dracul clan (land routes)... related to Torenscus.
Traladaran surname: Lazu; Suggest this family of mathematicians and notable engineers worked with both the Dracul clan with the Stivov Mine as well as dredging efforts in Port Gorod's harbor for the Artho clan as recently as 15 years ago. Politically within the Town Fathers, the young, thoughtful... but easily bribed due to an undisciplined lifestyle... Csaba Lazu is often the deciding voice in contested issues.
Iron Ring surnames (various modules): Malenkov (DDA3, p. 5)
Surname Ideas (Karameikos)
Surnames plucked from Of Nests and Nations (Dungeon Magazine#13): Karamazov, Alexeyena, Nikoli, Angleicus, Irenkov, Ivanovich, Ptolemisus, Polenov, Samsa, etc.
Some names plucked from In the Dread of Night (Dungeon Magazine#24): Grigore Mavrov, Dieter Mavrov, Bram Radescu, Boris Czigany, Obert Zbon, Janos Yorbini, Han Podsk, Stanislan Czelb, Vladislav Kruschneh, Burr Silecz, Armand Reh, Vladimir Vlem, Bellamy Rogoz, Alvis Romczi, and Runa (fem.) Kroza.
Hunting, Gathering, Fishing & Huntsmen
Huntsmen: the town support about a score of fighters and adventurers willing to brave the swamps as guard and guides. They also lead boar hunts and hire themselves out to the Town Reeve and the High Sheriff.
Wild Boar hunts
Snakes & lizards: Found everywhere, even in town. Young boys taken pleasure in collecting them, killing them and presenting them to their mothers.
Fowling: In the spring, beaters with sticks drive great flocks of birds into the air where they are trapped with netting. Some birds are taken with small leg-snares or throw stones, but seasonal netting account for the majority.
Fishermen (nets): shad, mackerel, tuna. Shad and mackerel are caught with nets, splayed as a kipper and dried. Tuna can speared by divers or taken with tridents. The best divers are enslaved lizardmen. In the late summer, nets are set in the shallow waters and the tuna is driven into the kill area and corralled. They are then speared or beaten to death with clubs in a gory spectacle enjoyed by most townspeople able to observe. The annual kill is know as 'The Mattanza,' the massacre.
Whaling fleet leaves port: Traditionally Flaurmont 8th. While most years a whale is not harvested, there is great joy when one is landed.
Blight Swamp and Southern Swamp
Farming, Steeplefall, Porting Water & Land Travel
There is very little dairy or herding animals kept in either Port Gorod or Steeplefall. Shepherding is simple too unsafe and there is no good grazing areas. Dairy cattle are also too taxing to the meager grazing resources. Crops constitute nearly all the agriculture. Meat is generally from hunting, fishing or trapping.
Agriculture and Village of Weston: Turnips, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, some barley, hemp,
Gathering: acorns, beechnuts, swamp berries, wild fennel, crayfish,
Porting Water into town.
The Donkey Trace
The Path to Luln
Steeplefall: 2 miles east-southeast of town accessible via the Donkey Trace. This is a small village depedent on Port Gorod for most services. There is a deep well, a few barns owned by townspeople, a granary, lumbermill, some mules and a few guard dogs in addition to the brave families living this far from town. During the Spring and Fall, the most likely seasons for humanoid incursions, a single veteran huntsman (2nd to 4th level) is hired and stationed in a small hovel to guard the granary.
Like many traditional societies, slavery of non-humans is tolerated.
Bounty Hunters: slavers from Halag willing to brave the swamps.
Slavery...lizardmen, grippli, trolls, ogres, dwarves, elves (Trolls can't be kept in town due to the danger.) Trafficking humans or halflings is forbidden, but Bounty Hunters have been known to illicitly do so before. Currently no elves are in bondage. One dwarf
Liberty Medallion: A small copper engraved plate worn on a neck chain for free non-humans. Halflings, elves and dwarves do not require this.
Respectable Institutions & Governance
Priest of Halav, Sándor Irenkov (C6): acting judge & the church elders. Many resent the priest for past legal judgments. He also neglects his duties to keep up with the abbey on Abbey Isle. He is a tired man with burdens beyond his years.
Town Fathers (5)... jokingly referred to as the Feeble Five.
Zsigmond Radu (András Artho's nephew. A puppet)
József Osaga (Elderly boatwright. Firmly under Artho influence.)
Csaba Lazu (Young. Thoughtful but easily bought swing vote among the Fathers) One of few townsmen of partial Thyatian heritage... from his noble-born mother of the Penhaligon family.
Matthias Malenkov (Business Associate and stooge of Ivan Dracul)
Géza Trakador (Aging Traladaran Noble. Formerly held mining interests. If he ever regains wealth, he may escape the thumb of Ivan Dracul.)
High Sheriff: The only full-time employee of the Town Fathers. Currently Tamás Nikoli (F4) serves the role. His main activities are locking up rowdies and shrugging his shoulders when a fresh corpse is found on the streets.
Town-Reeve: This idealistic young man, Giaus Fabius, has a large young family. He is responsible for enforcing feudal law... from the Barony rather than the Duke's law. He is largely overlooked as the Baron has accommodations with both Master Dracul and Master Artho. He feels intimidated by the Blacks and Unseen. He reports to the Black Eagle but has no respect for either him or the townspeople. Secretly, he thinks coming to this forsaken land was a mistake. Out of self-interest and fear of his families safety, he botches most crimes involving Unseen or Black perpetrators.
The Three Advocates (Slovork Nitvick, Trofim Ptolemisus, Yulian Polenov); These three men advocated before the Priest Sándor Irenkov on criminal and legal matters. The High Sheriff, Tamás Nikoli, is not a strong advocate for the town. Cases of murder are often argued as a justified vendetta demanded by a blood feud. Under Traladaran law, this is a valid defense.
Rights to fisheries, grazing, water, fields and other resources are common. Traditional usage is a common legal argument. There is a long, convoluted and contradictory record of such disputes that never leave the losing party satisfied.
The Baron's Taxes: The Black Eagle does not directly tax the people in town. In the Fall, his men will appear in the village of Steeplefell to extract an annual tax in kind. This is deeply resented, but does not lead to the privation of Halag as both Master Artho and Master Dracul have an understanding with the Baron to meet a quota of 60 recruits for the Baron's service each year. A black-sailed ship appears in the harbor thrice per year expecting 20 recruits. While many young men volunteer as a part of their Shearing Ceremony just to leave the dead-end Portown, shortages of up to 8 recruits have caused conscription in the past. Most times, enough volunteers exist. When short, the two Masters kidnap sons of enemies to swell the Baron's ranks. To date, these recruits and harvest taxes in kind have kept the Black Eagle from more actively oppressing the town. The sons of Port Gorod are valued by the Baron due to there natural cruelty. Even conscripted recruits often thrive and grow to enjoy the Baron's service.
Notes & Ideas on Portown
Most locals have relatives in Halag, the villages of the Gulf Coast and some even in the recently thriving town of Luln.
Salt & Iron Mines (Stivov Mine)... roughly 20 miles due East (moved 12 miles from Giovanni Agosta's map location)
[These were owned 15 years ago by Port Gorod's Dracul clan until the Baron's lawyers stole them outright. These mines have always shipped from Duum Beach or by land routes rather than Port Gorod.]
Spears, nets, knives and crossbows.
House and a half
Constant mists roll in at dusk. (Rising Mist is a tavern in Halag; Dragon #206)
little property crime due to lack of prosperity
A Love Story: Dame Leda Lazu (b. 952) Born as Leda Pehhaligon in Thyatis. She was a much younger sister to Lord Arturus Penhaligon and an older cousin to the current Lady Arteris Penhaligon. As a young maiden, Leda had a torrid affair with a quirky young Traladaran engineer hired by her brother to help design and construct the Castle of Three Suns in Penhaligon. This talented young engineer from Port Gorod was Imre Lazu, the father of Csaba Lazu. Today Leda is one of the few from Thyatis to call Port Gorod home. She is dismissive and arrogant even by Thyiatin standards. Imre often seems a henpecked, bug-eyed scholar praying for an early demise. Leda's beauty is still evident despite her years. (A DM may use this aging elitist to trigger narrative changes that may require the PC's to travel to the Penhaligon region of central Karameikos.) Imre's elderly, bedridden father Quarlov is nursed upstairs.
Gypsy music and dance.
Fiddle, castanet and accordion.
The organ grinder.
Swamp Adventure: Dragonsfoot Publishing free online module DF28: The Banked Swamp.
Criminals and Secret Organizations
White Peregrines: a fan name for the various rebels opposing the Black Eagle Baron... will scrawl in chalk a white bird as graffiti. Name taken from the light brown falcons that hunt along the coasts on the Gulf of Halag. Teen members are noted for raising their crossbows overhead and yelling "Peregrines!" after a successful ambush. A cell of this loose organization based in Luln is presented in the module DDA3: Eye of Traldar.
Origins of the Iron Ring: candidate branches of the Dracul and Artho clans were some of the early
The Blacks & The Unseen
The Two Masters: Iron Ring term (Ivan Dracul (Unseen) and the other András Artho (Blacks))
Secretive Vargos clan survivor(s).
Local Holidays and Festivals
Kerchief Day: Kladmont 9th (December): Celebrate love and "The Lonely Maid". Many generations ago, a young maid fell in love with a sailor about to embark on a great voyage. He promised to return. She promised to greet each returning ship on a promontory waving a red kerchief. She did so for over 40 years as he was never to return. In celebration of her love, lover's hide a small scrap of cloth for one another with notes. Many blood feuds start when the wrong persons secret such items and others learn on it. This holiday is localized to the Gulf Coast. It is also claimed in Halag.
Lycanthropy & Vampirism: inappropriate for a low-level campaign, but DM's may introduce elements as players move to mid-levels as they wish. Be careful that the Dracul clan doesn't fall into a trope of vampirism, but it is fine if the players are uneasy with the name... Port Gorod is a town where unease is typical. V&L are so pervasive in other parts of Karameikos, that I prefer a reprieve from these menaces. Perhaps the efforts of the Knights of Halav centuries ago proved a lasting purge of these evils in this part of Traladara.
Old Hutaakan ruins: mummies (The Underground Ancient City mentioned by J. Eric Holmes): The 'Sample Dungeon' refers to Portown being built on an ancient lost city. I identify this city as the Hutaaka-Human town of "Demeion" from the Traldar Golden Age. It is on the map in Threshold Magazine #1 (p. 41). I moved it north up the coast about 12 miles rather that under modern Duum Beach as it appears on the map.
Goblin Meets: Certain wild places on the edges of goblin territorial claims have traditionally been used for trade on the night of the new moon, the night prior and the night after. Even duplicitous goblinoids are reluctant to shed blood in such places for fear of losing trade for generations. Humans can also use these to trade with goblins. The new moon is safe for goblins as the lycanthropes are not active. Trackers and woodsmen often now where likely meeting spots are, but are typically too cautious to use them without dire cause. (I used Agathokles' River of Blood fan-module for further details enhancing an independent idea.)
piracy (Human & Hin)
The Tower of Zenopus
The Old Mine
The Old Keep
The Blight Swamp
Ties to the Old Ones and the Cult of Halav: Zenopus dabbled in dark arts intent on exploiting the favor of the Old Ones as others had done before him. In his later years, he managed extenvie dimenional travel as he sought the power he desired. Some of papers found in estate grandmother to the of Cult of Halav's founder, Sergyev.
Securing Entertainers for Harvest Day: Huntsmen or wandering adventurers are hired each year to escort an attorney dispatched to the Luln Footman's Games for the upcoming Harvest Day in Port Gorod. Guards are granted 3 weeks unpaid leave in Luln awaiting the return journey.
Atheneos: Pirates, Merchants, Artho Clan
Luln: Dracul's have strongest ties here and are sympathetic with the White Peregrines.
Black Eagle Barony
The Black Eagle Barony is the demesne of Baron Ludwig von Hendricks, cousin to Duke Stefan Karameikos. It consists of the main settlement, Fort Doom (Halag) and several small faming villages and hamlets, including Stivov (Mine & Village), Port Gorod (Ivangrad), Duum Beach (Halagorov), Lungrad, Trov, Demiv, Roagrad, Torezegy and Saescu.
The former Barony of Halag was prosperous, with fertile farmlands and well stocked waters in the Gulf of Halag. Since the area became the Black Eagle Barony the Traladaran people of the Gulf Coast have suffered great hardships.
Dangerous Persons & Fauna of the Southern Riverfork Woods
Humanoids (to east and south): Roaring (pit) Fiends, Rashak's Reavers, Night Seekers, The White Death, Bargle's Bugbears
Blight Swamp (& extreme north of Southern Swamp): Lizardmen, trolls, grippli (30-in tall frog-men), bonesnappers (K: KoA p. 102), Sea Serpent (Lesser); stirges, black dragon, huge dragonflies (1 HD, Atk: d3 hps, AC: 3; fly: 80') as well as swamp ponies, frogs, toads, Low-life, birds, reptiles galore.
Beetle, Giant (Fire)
Bounty Hunters (slavers from Halag): to or from Blight Swamp.
Cruth Lowland Raiders (From Cruth Lowlands): Rotten Snake Orcs (40%); Cruth Ogres (30%); Greyslayers, Orcs(30%)
Duchy Goblinoid Tribal Raiding Party: Nightseekers, Goblins (55%), White Death (Gob+Orcs) (45%)
Huntsmen (from Luln or Port Gorod)
Lizards, Giant Footpad
Owl, Giant (AC9, p. 18)
Patrols (Black E. Barony): humans, Bugbears, hobgoblins
Patrol (Stivov Mine): varies
Raiding Party from Swamp: Lizardmen (60%), Grippli (30%), Bullywogs (10%)
Rashak's Reavers Patrol:
Gnolls (often mounted on sturdy, surefooted war ponies)
Ravens (B10, pullout Sheet VIII)
Roaring Fiends Patrol: Hobgoblins
Sentinels of Luln: human
Snakes, Normal Rock Rattler (80%), Gnt. Rock Rattler (20%); (AC9, p. 21)
Spiders, Giant Hunting (AC9, p. 55) often near Whitefern)
Spiders, Huge Wood (AC9, p. 56) often near Whitefern)
Troll (v. rare)
Wild Swamp Ponies
Not present: undead, werewolves, vampires, kobolds, tribal bugbears, goblins & orcs, bandits, humans (except on the road), great cats, dwarves, elves, gnomes, fey creatures not listed, halfling,
Plants of Mystara common in the Blight Swamp
False Face Oak
Hanging Pixie Moss
Russet Bog Puffs
Serpentweed, Giant (Monstrous)
Terran Plants also thrive: willow trees, sycamore trees, alder trees, ferns, Spanish moss, rushes, grasses, wild hemp, algae, ground mosses, nettles, poison ivy, etc.
Many sylvan plants and trees grow in the rugged tangled, hardwood hills east of Port Gorod:
Ghost Hickory (uncommon)
Lord's Mantle (uncommon)
Vail Vine (Magical)
Vampiric White Creeper
Whitefern (beware of spiders)
The occasional deep glen will support an uprising of fungus: Terran, mundane, magical and monstrous.
Dungeon #34: Isle of the Abbey
This is a good low-level adventure based in Portown.
Lightkeeper: perhaps a feeble elderly man rather than accomplished warrior.
Change Mariner's Guild to the Town Fathers.
The Abbey may be connected to the Knights of Halav (Threshold Magazine #1, p. 56). Built on the original great hall these knights used. They located on an island as a bastion from the lycantropes and vampires they faced many centuries ago.
Notes about the D&D Accessory AC2: The DM's Screen
Some campaign details relevant to Eastern Karameikos are included in this supplement. One problematic issue are the "Cay-Men" villages of the Blight Swamp. Revising these to be Lizardman tribes solves a great number of campaign integrity issues. The adventure also has a village inhabited by "natives." This is inconsistent with the Karameikos setting. These can integrate better as pirates, bandits or a non-hostile lizardman village.
I also dismiss this adventure details of the undead. I think the Blight Swamp works better dominated with lizardmen, trolls, a black dragon, pirate dens on the coast and the usual mundane lowlife monsters, oozes and vermin. This eliminates the haunting spirit from Grisbaldo's Grave (Location #1). The elven bandits (Location #2) could be recast as human pirates. The Slough of Despair (Location #3) can remain unchanged. For the burned _lizardman_ village (Location #4), the baddies should be trolls. The Second Village (Location #5) should be inhabited by peaceful lizardmen. The two NPC's Carmelita and Thut should be replaced with lizardmen with a command of Common. The Isle of Rosentos (Location #6) should be rewritten to feature trolls. Perhaps the skeletons of Rosentos' crew decorate various banners around the camp. Brass buckles on each skeleton's brass-linked sword harness can be inscribed with names. Iron weapons from such time are but rusted dust.
Map work of Sturm (Francesco Defferrari; Milan, Italy) ...Specifically, I located Portown as Ivangrad on this map. As my adventure takes place in 1000 rather than 1020, I'll leave it to others to determine why the town's name differs 20 years later. I did add a powerful Ivan as one of the town Masters. The name Port Gorod is the literal Russian word for a port. Most gamers will likely prefer the Anglicized name. Some of the monster placement is taken from this map. (Rejected Troglodytes in preference to Lizardmen only. Trogs are too intelligent for such close proximity to populated areas to not drive the campaign narrative.)
Port Gorod street layout: Based on Demos' work used with his permission. Demos=paleologos.
Travis Henry's Treatise on Languages of Mystara ... Suggested Hungarian as a basis for western Karameikos language.
Dragon Magazine #206 Karameikos Ho! by Jeff Grubb. My campaign has yet to play out the "Halfling War" but I'm very tempted to completely change the outcome Bay of Pigs style for the halflings. Stefan loses face and true civil war with a bolstered Baron results. Fish species in Gulf of Halag.
Hungarian Pronunciation Guide
DDA3 The Eye of Traldar. Turnips as local crop in Western Karameikos.
Basic Street Layout adapted from the work of paleologos (Demos). The map is loosely based on the medieval Aegean port-town of La Canea (Chania, Crete)... likely from the Frederik de Wit rendering.
Lords of the Cruth Lowlands: An Adventure for Character Levels 6-9 by Agathokles (Giovanni Agosta; Milan, Italy); A modified version of the Black Eagle Barony shows the location of Port Gorod. Steeplefall would be either within the same hex or at the intersection of three hexes on Agathokles' map and is therefore not distinguished from Port Gorod. Stivov Mine is moved. The southern edge of the Blight Swamp is altered. The base camp for the Roaring Fiends is moved a little further away from the Stivov mine. A few wooden hill hexes where changed to mixed arable and/or agricultural rolling hills to provide enough food for the populations... especially just north of Fort Doom (Halag). I included a mine near the Rashak's Reaver camp from Strum's 1020 map of the area missing from Agathokles's map. Removed Undead reference from Blight Swamp. I wanted a small corner of Karameikos relatively free of vampirism, undead and lycanthropy. The swamp retains plenty of adversaries with a black dragon, lizardmen and other less otherworldly foes. (They can show up in this area, but are not commonplace.)
Threshold Magazine #1: Map of The Traldar Golden Age, p. 51; Rather than the location on the map, I moved the city of Demeion north, up the coast, about 12 miles rather that under modern Duum Beach as it appears on the map.
Night of the Strawmen
The Night of Fire
Gameprinter (Ottawa IL, USA) Illustrations Lighthouse & Ruined Tower
Reference to a Lazu Family
Cruth Lowlands Fan Campaign by agathokles (Giovanni Agosta; Milan, Italy) Black Dragons in Blight Swamp
The Crowning of Zirchev's Queen Modified slightly and added to The Festival of New Bread
Traladaran Clans, by Jennifer Geurra. Of special note is the Artho clan and Dracul clans of Halag, are probably the strongest clan on the Gulf Coast.
Church of Traladara Many of the festivals are from this article by Jennifer Geurra.
Demography in Karameikos. Accepting the GAZ1 population numbers suggests Port Gorod may have a population of 2,700 or so. A fairly large, but isolated town. Also the source for the helpful coastal sphinx. Some ideas for monsters, but cay-men rejected. Social attitudes towards half-orcs and half-ogres.
Ranges of Humanoid Tribes in Karameikos by agathokles (Giovanni Agosta; Milan, Italy). Also the Dragon article on Fort Doom.
Agathokles Karamiekos Culture source for background on the Warrior-Queen Elendorath of Vaion.
XS1: Expert Adventure Supplement, Luln by R.C. Pinnell (Thorkhammer); details such as 50 of Duke's troops in Luln, 20 of the Black Eagle's men. The level for Lady Mya and Father Crispon are a little higher than most small towns. As Father Crispon is described as "lenient," I interpret him as a tolerant Thyiatin.
Knights of Halav
I use Port Gorod as a starter, coastal town. Few of the residents are of high level. The PC's can quickly become locally important. The economic hardships of the town will ultimately force the PC's into the broader Known World, but they can amuse themselves with forays into the dangerous swamp, town feuds, pirate intrigue and local dungeon crawls until higher levels.
Giaus Fabius is a frustrating, but interesting NPC. The White Peregrines parody of Red Dawn amuses me, but the players are too young. Using the Priest of Halav, Sándor Irenkov, as a judge is lots of fun as he administers injustice from his awkward position. Géza Trakador is also a great plot device as he connives to regain his mining interests.
Of course the threat of the Baron is always present, but I don't overplay it. I also intentionally keep Iron Ring influence out of Port Gorod. It's too easy and only leads back to the masters in Halag. The rival Blacks and Unseen are quite enough for organized crime.