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by Geoff Gander

>No, Trollhattan is on the bay and the PCs took their ships or zeppelins
>to Norwold there. I have never had to describe Torpes.
>I remember there were settlers from the Qeodhar Antalians in Torpes.
>The name sounds a little "Ispan", doesn't it?

Ah yes, that article I wrote about Antalian settlers in northwestern Alphatia - it's nice to see some of the material get circulated. :)

When I came up with Gronborg, I imagined an impressive defensive wall along the neck of the peninsula, some of which may still stand today, though modern Torpes is built upon the ruins of Gronborg the city. To be honest, I hadn't considered the etymology of the name "Torpes" - though it could certainly be Ispan (or possibly Thyatian in origin). I imagined a pretty clean break between the fall of Gronborg and the founding of the Kingdom of Limn - possibly several centuries - since nothing really remains of the old jarldom.

IMC, for example, I have Trikelios and Ekto (formerly Ektos) being founded by a branch of the Traldar people (the name of the former seems too Greek to me to be Thothian), who were then conquered by the Nithians. Perhaps something similar happened in Torpes?

How about this?

Roughly 200 years after the fall of Gronborg, and while the Alphatians were still concentrated east of the Kerothar Mountains (not really liking the northwestern coast very much), a few battered vessels sailed in from the southwest, carried by strange currents. They washed up among the ruins of Gronborg, where their passengers sheltered.

These people were a small group of Traldar who left their homeland a few centuries after Milen made his epic journey to Davania, believing they would find the realm he founded, and live there in peace. They were carried off course, and ended up on the Isle of Dawn, where they encountered fierce monsters. They fled northwards, hoping to circle what they thought was a small island and head back south. Unfortunately, another storm caught them, this time dashing them upon the battered port of Gronborg.

Life was harsh for those who survived, but eventually they adapted to life on the rugged coast. There were plenty of fish in the seas, and the ruined buildings, all in the shadow of an awesome walls, provided shelter of a sort. Realising that there was no way of returning home, they decided to remain, and so they founded the village of Tarpanades, named after their only surviving clan leader. Over the years, Tarpanades grew slowly, though as time passed the fishermen reported seeing "great ships that fly like birds". One day, some thirty years after Tarpanades' founding, the Alphatians came in force. They had only discovered the existence of the small town a few years previously, during a skyship patrol over the region. Knowing that this town was not a registered settlement, a small military force was sent to investigate.

Although the initial meeting was awkward, the people of Tarpanades were amazed at the magical prowess of the Alphatians. Through magical means, the two groups were able to communicate, and the Alphatians learned of the displaced Tarpanadeans' history. Seeing the evident naval skills of the Tarpanadeans, the Alphatians offered a trade: they would offer to share their magical secrets, and educate those among them who could learn to cast spells, in exchange for fealty to the empire and sharing their naval skills.

Seeing that their situation could not be made much worse, the Tarpanadeans offered to accept, on the condition that they be allowed to govern themselves as they saw fit, so long as their taxes were paid. Finding this reasonable, under the circumstances, the Alphatians accepted.

Over the years, Tarpanades paid its nominal tax to Sundsvall, and those among its people who could learn magic did so, though many of them returned home rather than remain in the interior. The Alphatians learned to build faster sailing ships, and better navigational techniques that would ultimately save lives. They also ensured that at least a portion of the largely unsettled northwestern coast would be stable and secure. Some of those Alphatians who lacked the ability to wield magic also settled in Tarpanades over the centuries, and they contributed to its growth from a collection of stone houses into a bustling port town of almost 10,000 people by AC 1000. During that period, the town's name slowly changed, as newcomers mispronounced it, and as some of the old lore of the original settlers faded. Today, it is now known as "Torpes", a contraction of its old name, though the name "Tarpanades" still appears on official documents and proclamations from the town council.

Although technically a part of the Kingdom of Limn, Torpes is still largely independent. It was merged with that kingdom in AC 928, under a then-ambitious plan to redraw the borders of many northwestern territories in order to redistribute the population more equitably, under the assumption of the Alphatian economist, Xandaram, that this would improve the productivity of commoners living in those regions, and thus bolster tax revenues. Though this idea failed, the people of Torpes found their position in Limn to be acceptable, and so they have not tried to alter the situation. King Drushiye of Limn is more than happy to let the people of Torpes go about their business, so long as the taxes come in regularly.