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City of Telsadunby Alex Benson
Telsadun is just south of the Randel Line and slightly inland from the coastal city of Dmireton. It has a population of 2,400. Telsadun acts as the Rest and Recreation area for the Randel Armed Forces. The city is a decadent place. It caters to any and all whims of a body of men and women on leave. The flesh businesses primarily cater towards the male aspect with its dancing girls. Most female visitors find companionship with their male comrades.
All manners of vices and pleasures are available for the soldiers. Regulations are slight. However, three regiments of Dyurkan troops are kept on hand to take care of maintaining the peace. Patrols of Dyurkan troops maintain a visible presence in the city. The Dyurkans are the only feasible troops in Randel for the task as they are less likely to be swayed by the vices the city offers. In the past, locals as well as mercenaries have been tried. However, these troops were found unsatisfactory as they often were distracted by the attractions and vices.
Also on the common streets are a various assortment of entertainers and vendors. Each will approach visitors and try to sale their wares or entertainments. Entertainers and vendors are pretty much considered to be a nuisance, little more than beggars. Dyurkan troops are constantly looking to harass those that are too persistent in hawking their wares and talents.
There are actually two portions to the city. The largest section is the downtown section, which covers the businesses. This encompasses roughly seventy five percent of the city. These are the various wine houses, dance halls, shops, theatres, etc. that provide the entertainment factor. This portion of the city is of a colourful, if not tacky decor. Architectural styles vary from building to building, often altering primarily due to function and to advertise the establishment's wares.
The other portion is a small enclave commonly called the uptown, which acts as the residential section for Telsadun's wealthier citizens. It is a clean secure area with broad streets and walled estates. Most residents own one or more business downtown. The Baron's home and offices, Dyurkhan barracks, and a small market are located here. Most residents of Uptown keep several mercenaries on retainer. No businesses or slaves, other than household staff, are allowed in the Uptown section.
The ruler of Telsadun is Baron Fertistrar (C29 of Razud). He is a stern yet efficient ruler, who has managed to distance himself from the vices of his city. A renowned warrior in his days with the Randel Cavalry, he has a great deal of respect from the visiting troops and locals. The Baron is currently single and has no children. He is known to keep company with Commander Assillya (F22) commander of the Dyurkan troops.
Mayor Demerondiar (M16) administers the city's daily chores and acts as a liaison officer to the residents as well as the business owners. He is overweight and often viewed as an oaf. He is a merry sort who has a bad habit of self-indulgence. This attitude makes him popular with the businessmen, but it also affects his job performance. The Mayor is happy to pass his duties onto others such as the Custodian. Custodian Dloremia (F16) oversees the maintenance of the city. She is an energetic person who enjoys the work. She has assumed several aspects of the Mayors duties. She is happy with this added workload as she sees it as an excellent opportunity to display her abilities.
Subordinate to Demerondiar and Dloremia is Nertrigia (C32 of Asterius). Her role in Telsadun is to monitor the honesty of the games to insure that the visiting troopers and the game runner are not cheated. Nertrigia works on a commission that is forwarded to the Asterius Following. This commission is paid for from a collection drawn from the gambling establishments themselves.
Within Telsadun's walls, just about every form of amusement can be found. All venues are safe and without any risk or fraud thanks to tight city ordinances. The limiting factor to what one does lays with a person's personal wealth. Since most visitors are common troops on leave. Most entertainment is centred on them and their income bracket.
Ranking officers and soldiers of some wealth will find The Silk House a welcomed place to unwind. This building is probably the most elegant of any within the business district. There they are pampered by the best the Empire has to offer. Fine food, exquisite wines, fine musicians, and some of the most attractive and socially refined concubine slaves available. The Silk House's owner is Madame Aylanna's (M3). Madame Aylanna is the "hooker with a heart of gold". A former concubine slave, Aylanna picked up limited knowledge of magic from one of her favourite customers. It was this small inventory of spells that afforded her freedom. Since gaining her own freedom Aylanna has done little to expand her magical studies. She was a call girl in her youth and is well aware of the future her girls are bound for. She tries her best to find them husbands before they get too old. Once a match is made, she gives them their freedom. The Madame is well like personality and has many affluent contacts within Randel as well as the Empire. The Silk House keeps several name level fighters on staff to deal with patrons that get out of hand.
Madame Aylanna has two primary girls that she is trying to find matches for. Both have served their mistress well and their beauty brought a bounty of gold to her personal wealth. Now that they both have begun to reach their late twenties, the Madame has pulled them both from the ranks of her working girls and placed them as hostesses.
The first is Lillissa (normal human). She is of common Alphatian stock. The other girl is Dromedrian (normal human). She is of mixed Alphatian/Thyatian heritage. Both girls are drop dead gorgeous and have a grace befitting a debutante. The Madame has seen few promising matches within the current bevy of officers. The two women have, uniformly dismissed those few that meet the Madame's requirements. Undaunted the Madame continues her search.
The common ranks will find The Grounded Galley much to their favour. It is a large wine house decorated with a flavour of the military. Most types are on display in the decor. However, there is an obvious abundance of Aerial Fleet paraphernalia present.
The proprietor is Syvanstrick (M22), a retired officer in both Randel's Air Fleet as well as the Imperial Air Navy. He is rarely present, as he owns another establishment in Bluenose. When he does visit he is a good hearted and friendly sort to all present. The Grounded Galley is administered by Argostian (M12) a former comrade of Syvanstrick when they served in the Randel Aerial Fleet. Argostian is a quiet man who is at home on either side of the bar. A frequent visitor is Syvanstrick's paramour Taliandriss (C12 of Talitha) who stops by to check on things. She is an upstart woman with a dashing flair for grace and sophistication. She seems to relish heaping verbal abuse upon the Galley's dancing girls and serving wenches.
Those wishing to "play the odds" should visit The Bronze Buckler, Telsadun's most popular gambling establishment. Here, troopers can play dice or watch Hardball games via magical means. Refreshments, music, and dancing girls are there to add to the gambling experience. The Buckler has small arena adjacent to the gambling hall. Here, weaponry and spell demonstrations are held. And yes, duels are often held here.
The proprietors, Macek (F8) and Maera (M7), are identical twins. They inherited the business from an uncle who passed away a few years back. The two young men have done well to carry on the Buckler's reputation for entertainment. Aiding them are several of their uncle's employees. A collection of fighters, mages, and clerics they offer advice as well as security to the lads.
There is a little bit of everything to be seen and done in Telsadun. However, most visitors have to stop and see the Obsidian Tower, which sit directly in the centre of the small city. The Tower is a smooth surfaced tower reaching a height of some one hundred feet. Its base is about fifty feet in diameter. There are no windows. In fact, the Tower is a featureless cone reaching up into the sky.
Most residents know better than to attempt entrance. Several ambitious visitors have attempted to climb the edifice. Most perish as the Dyurkan troops quite unceremoniously shoot them down. Several mages have attempted to gain entrance via magical means. However, none have emerged to report the details of the interior.
If asked, most citizens of the city will truthfully say that they do not know what the Tower is, nor do they know who built it. It just appeared there one morning. Chances are good that the citizens will pass on a rumour or two about it. The most popular rumour is that the Tower is a shrine of sorts dedicated to the fallen King Randel II. This being rationalised, as the Tower appeared around the time the king perished in Thyatis.
Militarily, Telsadun is different from its contemporary towns and cities. The troop units stationed within its walls do not serve primarily as a protecting force for the city. Instead, they act as a police force to keep the revellers in line. This is not an easy task, for the vices on display there make maintaining discipline difficult. The temptations are just too strong.
The only troops disciplined enough to serve in Telsadun have proved to be Dyurkan Regiments. In Telsadun, there are three Dyurkan Regiments: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Regiments. Their overall commander is the Commander Assillya (F22). Though young for her rank, she is a devoted soldier, even by Dyurkan standards. A natural beauty, her tenacity and wisdom has calmed any fears by her fellow Dyurkans as to her being qualified.
Akordia (T27) is a noted performer. Her specialties are juggling, knife throwing, and gymnastics. Accentuating her performances is a charming comedic wit. Akordia is one of the town's most popular entertainers. She only performs once or twice a month. However, she can often be seen at local parties and entertainment establishments.
In Telsadun, visitors are required to leave all weapons, except daggers, with the Dyurkan troops at one of the city's gatehouses. Mages are exempt from this rule. Visitors are encouraged to take in all of the sights of the city. However, the display of blatant aggression and other rude behaviour is subject to the attentions of the Dyurkan troops. They act as constable, judge, and executioner. They are the law. Visitors are not allowed except by invitation to enter the Uptown section. In Telsadun, all kingdom as well as Imperial holidays are recognised. These holidays are celebrated in exaggerated manners to capitalise on the festival atmosphere of the city. Also, during Amphimir 15th through 28th, the city is closed to visitors so that the Dyurkans can celebrate the Mobakonas holiday, as they would back in the Highlands. Most non-Dyurkans use this period to rest and to repair and remodel their establishments.
Taliandriss, of the Grounded Galley, is a cleric of the Immortal Talitha. She has established a small following within the city. Syvanstrick is unaware of her true nature. He is under her charms and quite content. Argostian does not like Taliandriss and suspects she is up to something but has remained quiet for lack of evidence. For her part, Taliandriss is well aware of Argostian thoughts on her. She knows that she cannot just get rid of him, for he and Syvanstrick are still good friends and comrades from the Army. That is a bond that she is ill at ease to challenge.
The performer Akordia is not just a simple showman. No, her true identity is as an agent for the Black Watch. Her duty is to gather information. With the constant flow of visitors from throughout the kingdom, she has a means to gather much information. This being Telsadun, people tend to talk more, especially at parties and after a few drinks.
The Obsidian Tower is the stronghold and residence of old King Randel IIs personal guard. After King Randel II fell in Thyatis, the remaining Guard vowed redemption. This redemption did not fully fall on a lack of fighting ability. Instead, many of the Guard had come under the influence of the Thyatians as well as become addicts of zzonga fruit. Blaming themselves for the loss of their King, they screamed for vengeance. Calling for the assistance of an Immortal to aid them, they got a response though at the time none knew it. The Immortal was none other than Nyx. Taking pity on them, she cast her Immortal magic. The spell manifested itself as the Guard members fell in combat and the bodies remained preserved.
By the time relief troops had fought through to them, only a scant handful of the Guards remained. At the behest of the survivors the dead Guards were ferried back to Randel for burial. On the way, the survivors were visited in their dreams by Nyx. She told them to take the bodies to Telsadun and place them in a newly constructed tower.
Arriving with the preserved corpses, they discovered that a black hued tower had appeared during the night in the very centre of town. Under the cover of night, the surviving Guard placed the dead inside. They tower's doorway closed sealing not only the dead in but also the survivors. The still living Guard members committed suicide to join their fallen brethren. Soon after the spell Nyx had cast fully manifested itself.
Those Guard members that had either fallen to the vices of Thyatis or had succumb to zzonga were turned to Death Knights (page 52 AD&D Monstrous Manual). These death knights are the source of the wails that emit from the tower from time to time. Those that had avoided the temptations were changed into Skeletal Warriors (page 317 Monstrous Manual), minus the soul ring aspect, and are completely sentient. Also among the King's Guard were a number of elves. These elves became Wyrds. The officer magists and clerics were transformed into liches. Their commander Deliantra (M36 lich) was turned into an Arch Lich. She still commands the troops she did in life.
The undead troopers are magically trapped within the tower. The Death Knights cannot use shadows to teleport out. The tower's interior is permanently lit by immortal magic from all angles, negating shadows. The liches remain studious with their spellbooks that were interred with them. The troops spend the years sitting about a large crystal sphere, which enables them to view the mortal pursuits of Telsadun. This is how they keep their sanity. It has also enabled them to keep up to date on current events. The undead troops share the people of Randel's hatred of Bettellyn, blaming their foot dragging as dishonourable.
The magic that keeps them inside will only drop if Randel is threatened. That done the doorway to the tower's interior will open and the undead troops can leave. Upon leaving, they will mount up on summoned Nightmares (page 269 Monstrous Manual) to carry them into battle.
Aside from the undead King's Guard, the tower is also the home for several other types of undead. Teleporting into the Tower is no problem, but teleporting out is. The magics that keep the undead in make it impossible for intruders to teleport out. With infiltrating the tower as such a popular venture with visitors, the undead body count has risen. There are numerous animated skeletons from the corpses of these would be adventurers. Not to mention a few other undead types.
In total, the undead in the Obsidian Tower number 65 Death Knights, 105 Skeleton Warriors, 16 Wyrds, 12 Liches, and 1 ArchLich. Lesser undead total 43 animated skeletons wearing an assortment of armours and weapons, 6 Wraiths, and 10 Crypt Things (one for each level of the tower). DMs are advised to expand the types of undead within the tower. But be reminded that the wards that keep them in makes undead such as vampires unlikely as they would perish for lack of feeding.