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." (http://www.pandius.com/gdkaram.html
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 (http://pandius.com/tralclan.html
): Artho clan (sea trade)... related to Radu. Dracul clan (land routes)... related to Torenscus.
Traladaran surname (http://www.pandius.com/famfolk.html
): 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 Baronyhttps://eyesoftraldar.obsidianportal.co ... gle-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.