Steliden and the Duchy of Eagledark

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Steliden and the Duchy of Eagledark

Post by Boddynock » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:08 pm

(Used with Havard's permission via PM this sort of covers the petty kingdom of Steliden, which is the name of the capital and Eagledark, a sort of European petty country. Filled with dark secrets, forbidden lusts, I view it as Hammer Horror meets D&D.)

Weary travel. If you must take refuge keep to the road towards Soralav; City of Giants and do not turn north to haunted Eagledark. While the giants seem scary on the outside they are mere mortals compared to the corruption that Eagledark brings. -Dotsin Berlow; Gnome cleric of St. Dynschall the healing hand.

The black heart beets in the body of Duke Eli's duchy. The Eagleton's, banished from Refuge Point on pain of death as Steel Ogre collaborators the Eagleton's founded their own duchy, the cost is perhaps Eli's very soul.

We now look to the west on the Taltinian sea. Settled on its shores is a so called 'duchy' not that it reports to any king or foreign country, but Duke Ely Eagleton nonetheless clings to the less prestigious title. Pointing that it makes him more in league with the common man as he is a mere servant of a far greater power then a true king. The peasant class it seems has a hard time reading between the lines.
The Duchy of Eagledark and its capital Steliden are tolerated, but disliked by its neighbors. Its access to western markets makes it vital as an importer of exotic spices, jewels, and magical items. All of whose profits are funneled directly to Steliden's overbearing Eagledark Citadel. It is here, in the labyrinthine citadel sits the powerful Eagleton family whose collaboration with the Steel Ogres during the Refuge Point occupation earned them scorn and exile from their city. The only noble family to have its name completely stricken from Refuge Point records the family and its loyal retainers vowed to destroy Refuge Point by force and moved west to find their own kingdom, their own path to power. They found it in the Sea Barbarians.
The sea barbarians; the Ta'zul tribesman of the seashell were the descendants of ancient Taltinis. Though wild by nature their blood pumped the some of the purest of taltinian stock yet in their barbarism they had forgotten both their ancestors history upon the mythical island and their own connection with the magic. They were fierce warriors, fisherman, and hunters but they were no match for Eagleton technology. Heavy crossbow and armored knights attacked the barbarians. Ransacked villages and took slaves of captured women. The few mages that followed Eli into the west began working in contact various 'powers' for a dark purpose. The only vague clues is that Eli and his magical advisers rode out towards the dark forests that surrounded this country and returned with a magnificent black citadel as their command. What powers they made deals with? Whose to say. Dark things however began to stir in both the forests and the proud sea barbarians eventually cowed themselves under such threats of annihilation. To signify peace between the eastern invaders and the western natives Eli took himself a bride. Chief Bolar of the Crest married his daughter Imalia to the dark haired duke. Kept in seclusion from the rest of the public the dark duke produced with his new bride three children. Spoiled creatures the children in turn plot to overthrow their father and each other and have enacted their conspiracies within their chosen cities.

So beware foolish mortal! For you read upon the dark horrors of Eagledark its capital Steliden and its cities therein!
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Re: Steliden and the Duchy of Eagledark

Post by Boddynock » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:48 pm

01. Steliden - Jewel of the East
Population: 12,0000
Government: Stronghold of the duke who holds absolute power. He is backed by a small council of landed gentry.
Exports: Grain, Silks, Iron, Magical Items
Imports: Cattle (emphasis on beef), Experts (specifically engineers and mercenary leaders)

Notes:
The self-described Jewel of the East
Home to Eagledark Citadel
Capital of a cursed Duke

The Steel Ogres certainly had a way of destroying kingdoms. Refuge Point, Fiori Hills, and even Halfling controlled Androssi felt the effect. The only thing those technological barbarians did create was a new kingdom, not for the better really.
Ely Eagleton was at one time a mere noble of Refuge Point; a fighter who was hardy and bold to be sure, but somewhat unremarkable in courtly ability. That changed during the Steel Ogre war when the slaughter of noble men reduced the cities nobility to the scroungers and men like Ely Eagleton who stayed as rear guard. Spared from death due to a need for native administration the ogres tempted the dark haired, wild blooded Eagleton with the prospect of being a high ruler. Who could no resist?

Cut to the fall of the Ogres, the ultimate overthrow of the brutes with their loss of technology they fled through the city. They did not pause, nor stop to help their collaborator humans, leaving them to the hands of the mob. Only by his loyal retinue and close kin was Ely even spared the hangman's noose, the price was exile. His family and followers, those who were swayed by tyrant ogres fled to the south and east to seek a new life, to build a new kingdom. They first came upon the 'Free City of Giants', called Soralav. From their they launched deeper into the south, encountering the troubles of the Ta'zul barbarian tribe but finding an abandoned black stone keep, it was claimed as Eagledark Citadel, it serves as the Dukes base of power.

Eagledark slowly grew from their as traders moved south. The domination along the coast and ultimate subjugation of the Ta'zul people filled the duke with much power to play with. To control affairs he introduced a system of baronies that controlled the lands and in turn paid tribute to the crown of Eagledark. Within the city itself five nobles sit and advise the Duke, he holds the ultimate power.

The Council:
Leto Hattenburg - Shipping magnate, personal friend of the Duke from Refuge Point

David Blackwell - Banking family, treasurer to the duke, formerly Soralav and he himself is half-cloud giant

Julius McLaughlin- General of the Duke's personal army, Refuge Point human.

Skorn Bolar - Ta'zul barbarian chief turned councilman. His daughter Imalia is the wife of the Duke.

Gurnin Stormcrow - Orc chieftain to the Stormcrow Clan. His people also immigrated and mixed with the Eagledark population.

Notable Buildings:
Eagledark Citadel- An ancient structure that not even the barbarians or orcs know of its creation. It was taken and modified to be the Duke's headquarters. Recent archeological speculation is that it is of Taltinian origin, most likely from the first age of Taltanis, serving as a keep of the area. It is now the dark heart of the Dukes control. It is here in its very dungeon where lawbreakers seem to constantly end up; tortured to purge their disloyal lawbreaking ways from their bodies. The Duke appears to sometimes take an extra special delight in watching it done.

Cathedral of the Dread Father- Worshiping the immortal Chernabog; The Fiendish One. The Cathedral of the Dread Father boasts the largest of fanatical clergy. Officially they credit Chernabog not so much as evil, but stern towards disloyalty. They constantly root out disloyalty in the form of lawbreakers. Their edicts include rules like: Thou Shout Tell the Truth or Thou Shall Loose Thy Tongue. Thou Shall defend Thy Honor or be Banished as a Coward... Worshiping of Chernabog is not mandatory, this is to not offend traveling merchants that the duchy depends on, but a level of respect is given to the clergy men, or is expected.

The Bronze Dragon Inn: Ran by a halfling couple, the Bronze Dragon is a small inn for adventurers and outlanders. The couple are nice, and are known to help escaping 'rebels' take refuge on their way out. The couple runs much risk, but have been able to bribe the corrupt guards. The fact they cater to outland merchants has currently protected them from an Inquisition by the Chernabog crowd, but one mistake might cost them.

The City Arena: Games of blood sports are fought in the city arena. A gladiator of skill could easily make his fortune killing his fellow man or dire beast. When times are dry for gladiator battles, prisoners are marched in to do battle with foul monsters, notably the local basilisk population. The crowd themselves are protected by a number of abjuration runes that stop arrows and Basilisk gaze attacks.
Last edited by Boddynock on Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Steliden and the Duchy of Eagledark

Post by Boddynock » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:37 am

2- Barony of Raven's Peak
Population: 6,000
Government: Absolute power rests in the Baron, who in turn reports to the Duke
Exports: Iron, weapons, bronze, precious stones
Imports: Food, Timber

Notes:
Mountain town
Dwarven-ville
That one barony run by a dwarf

If anything Eagledark is at least a diverse population. It has a little bit of everything, unfortunately the whole lot of them are shady or at least cold people. It should be noted that duegar, dark dwarves, while cold and shunned by their brethren of Crown Guard the duegar have made their home within the craggy peninsula of Eagledark since before mortal man stepped on Refuge Point. They are not necessarily evil, nor their immortal patron Hephaestus a bad lord. They are dour and taciturn, more so than mountain or hill dwarf stock. Raven's Peak serves as the grand hall to the Daggerhorn Clan. The largest of duegar clans these dark dwarves were first content to let the humans do what they will in the overworld, so long as they didn't venture below. The need for trade came during the Under Wars between the duegar and the drow. Duegar mace and steam based inventions versus drow bow and spell was taxing, requiring an infusion of cash the first duegar trade mission took place between man and dwarf during the fiercest fighting of both the Eagleton occupation against the Ta'zul and the dwarven fighting with the Rodrikizi house for control of the local underdark.

With both sides enjoying a victory, Ely Eagleton choose a more diplomatic route of economic benefit with the dwarves to get them to join his kingdom. Ulis Daggerhorn, chief of the clan, was made a baron and put in charge of duegar affairs. Tribute was not asked, rather a guarantee of trade and lowered market prices on duegar kingdom to the duchy is what was asked and given. Now the dwarven kingdom stands slightly apart from the rest of the duchy. Rather unfazed by the troubles the Eagleton's cause, but not necessarily joining them, the duegar spend most of their time in manufacture and excavation of the underdark.

Recent history has seen the passing of Ulis Daggerhorn due to age. While a council of dwarves control the day-to-day affairs of the city, it is a matter of time when the Daggerhorn family chooses a new clan elder. Moire Daggerhorn, his eldest daughter is looked as a possible replacement, duegar unlike other races do not put a big emphasis on sex, but more on skill. Moire, while having challenges, is indeed one of the most skilled at both the loom and speech.

Buildings:
The Top Hold: Outlander merchants wishing to trade with the dwarves use the top hall as a convenient area for both dwarf and surface dweller. After all a man does not really wish to be below ground nor do duegar like the sun. The hall is enclosed except for the stained glass windows above.

The Church of Hephaestus: The God's Smith, the shunned one. Hephaestus is worshiped by the duegar. So much that a resentment has brewed between the churches of Hephaestus and the proselytizing Chernabog Cult. Worship of Chernabog is banned below ground, but tolerated in the trading top hall. While the cult wishes to push further in converting the population to Chernabog's will, they tread lightly at the risk of offending the duegar.

Daggerhorn Cairn: A great stone mausoleum for the dead Daggerhorn, it is said that Ulis ghost now takes the task of guarding the bodies of the Daggerhorn family (new ghost always guards the place.) The cairn is sacred ground, punishable by death to thieves.

The Maw: To keep the smiths running a great lava chamber was fashioned for the duegar to continue their work. The temperature is constantly sweltering, only the thick skin of dwarves can stand the heat within the maw.
Last edited by Boddynock on Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Steliden and the Duchy of Eagledark

Post by LoZompatore » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:08 pm

I like a lot both entries! They describe a dark and dangerous place to be visited, very suitable for adventuring or even for a one-shot quest along the route of a long journey...
I would like to delve a bit some features of your excellent contribution, with the hope of adding further details to Steliden and surroundings.

First of all, a local map:

Image
A full resolution map can be downloaded here

Symbols in red represent independent settlements, often dominating over nearby communities (symbols in black) as well. Borders of countries around the Duchy of Eagledark are highlighted.
Please notice that the area shown on the map is pretty large: as every hex is 24 miles in size, than the overall map is some 590 x 370 miles. For this reason only the largest settlements are represented. The whole region is dotted with villages, hamlets and smaller keeps, not shown on the map.


History of Steliden (hints):

Steliden's population is just 12000, while being located at the end of a major trade route crossing a whole continent. As a comparison the city of Refuge Point, a middle stop along the same road, is inhabited by about 150000 people. Why such a difference? At first I was thinking to suggest you to increase Steliden's population (from twofold to tenfold, maybe), then I thought that leaving the original value could open some interesting opportunities. Here is a tentative timeline explaining what could have possibly happened:

- Steliden was once a very big city (100000 people, or more), then its population dwindled due to a major invasion of the Ta'zul (the reason why a large - but primitive - barbaric horde managed to shatter a prosperous trading community might be investigated), who settled the whole area.
- Steliden's survivors could have founded other settlements along the coast (maybe even the cities of , Aamonia, Bastite and Carolinga, together with other populations) which diverted a large part of trade traffics to their seaports.
- The exiled Ely Eagleton was lured to Steliden by the opportunity to re-establish a wealthy trading post in the former location of the city (at the time the place was nothing more than a vast patch of ruins surrounded by scattered villages of Ta'zul fishermen and herdsmen). The dark powers he later found on the site were only an extra bonus useful to subdue the barbarians and get more power.
- The first enemies of the Eagleton family were just the Ta'zul barbarians, as the neighboring civilized communities were still not interested in the fate of a small (and likely dwindling) community of exiled colonists. The Ta'zul sudden defeat came somewhat as a surprise to them, but it helped to diminish the petty piracy acts the barbarians used to attempt along the less traveled sea routes.
- In the following decades the civilized communities saw the rebuilding of a small fortified city at Steliden’s location and the establishment of a land connection with the North Continental Road. Those communities put aside for a while their endless quarrels and formed a League aimed to crush their new fledgling competitor. Needles to say, by that time it was already too late. The black powers were fully on Eagledark's side and a stubborn duergar clan proved very nasty in blocking mountain passes leading to Steliden and in ambushing the League's troops. The League was eventually disbanded and Eagledark was then accepted among the other trading communities (such a condition will last until the duchy will prove itself weak and conquerable).
- Since then Steliden and Eagledark have slowly risen in population and power, attracting shady merchants, exiled from nearby communities, mercenaries and free Ta'zul barbarians attracted by what they believe to be a "high life city".

A couple of notes:
2- Barony of Raven's Peak
Population: 1,000
I would give more prominence to these interesting dwarves, especially if they helped Steliden against the League of nearby communities. I would increase their numbers to 5000-6000 people, so to make them able to field a small army of a few hundred soldiers.
The city is a ringed city that surrounds the temple to Manos the Black Hand of Fate
LOL!! Are you sure you want to keep this reference in Steliden's entry?

Nearby communities:

Here is a sketch of a regional map (72 miles/hex) showing the whole European-like peninsula where Steliden is located.

Image
A full resolution map can be downloaded here


The cities of Aamonia, Bastite and Carolinga come from an older post on another thread you may find here. They would be trade communities larger than Steliden with an average population between 25000 and 70000. I assume they were founded by Steliden's survivors after the ancient fall of this city against the Ta'zul, but their history might be quite different and much more complicated than this. We could also include the info about local muskets' technology as a distinctive trait of the cities: each of them could be able to field (among other troops) a small and precious army of 100-300 musketeers, to be used as elite troops (see here for more thoughts about technology levels on Thalassa).

A very brief description of the main neighboring communities I would like to add to the map is listed below:

- Sleema: another prominent trading community on the opposite side of the peninsula where Steliden is located. This city should be slightly larger than Aamonia, Bastet and Carolinga and it should be mainly concerned with trading in the northern seas. Its origin and history could be very different from those of the other communities of the area;
- The town of Despin (maybe with a population between 5000 and 8000: they could even be non human people) between the duchy of Eagledark and the country of Bastite. This settlement managed to keep its independence thanks to some powerful magic mastered by its inhabitants. Feel free to invent here.
- A Ta'zul settlement on the coast east of Steliden (feel free to suggest a name): a small town (say 6000-10000 people) inhabited by "civilized" Ta'zuls who adopted some costumes of the neighbouring cultures. Many of its inhabitants worked as servants and mercenaries in Steliden and in the competitor settlements and they now think of themselves as "urbanized" people, while in truth the town is not much more than a larger than usual Ta'zul settlement. The town is a useful hub for most of the free Ta'zuls of the region, who come here to trade and get fine foods and equipment.
- The city of Vasthole is now located on the western border atop a large plateau, close to a fair and well-watered region of springs and torrents. As many of them turn into navigable rivers, it is possible that the proximity to so many waterways lead Vasthole people to establish some sort of trading connection (maybe by the use of hot air balloons) with the valleys' riverside villages.
- A dark and gloomy Moonland region (see here for details about the Moonlands) covers the northeastern tip of the large peninsula where Steliden and the other settlements are located. Not all the Moonlands on Thalassa are evil places, but I suggest to make this specific location as the seat of some dark and dangerous undead or lycantropic country, which tries to become a prominent power in the whole region. Its influence is still not perceived. As in Steliden and the other neighboring cities due to the large distance involved (about 620 miles), but it is possible that spies and other covert agents from the evil country already roam the human cities trying to take advantage of local quarrels and divisions.
- I was wondering if it could be a nice idea o add some undersea community in the large gulf east of Steliden. The same gulf could harbor some very valuable commodity or luxury good, for example large schools of fish, whales, giant pearls, or similar.

;)

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Re: Steliden and the Duchy of Eagledark

Post by Boddynock » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:45 pm

Hey Zomp, good to see your around. I have to admit I really had very sketchy ideas about Eagledark. Even the two entries I did complete were, to me, very rough sketches of a kingdom that is suppose to echo bits of Ravenloft without the whole mists keeping you in one area. That was the theme I had with at least the major cities, a sort of Gothic feel of dark secrets, corrupt families, deep reds and blues. I'd like to answer a few point

Church of Manos: I might have went a little overboard with this reference. Might need to bring in a new being, like Chernabog or some other demonic entity of corruption. I also need to think of a duergar deity to conflict with such influence.

Population: Really when it comes to population, I often just make up a number. I'm not a big numbers guy so any population number you think is best I'll agree with. You can probably etch clues from the town description and I'm sure we can come up with a suitable number.

I really should take some time and re-do some of my notes, I sort of lost track of my Eagledark stuff. Thank you for the response.
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Re: Steliden and the Duchy of Eagledark

Post by Boddynock » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:37 pm

Before I go further in doing town descriptions, I'd like to address a few of your thoughts Zomp.

1) Sleema - I agree that Sleema should serve a different purpose. I see it more as a neutral, maybe even a pirate town. Its existence to the Duchy is a necessary evil. The necessity comes from trade with places like Fiori or Refuge Point. Obviously the bad name the Duke has developed, along with his pass, no merchant out of those countries in any good sense would willingly sail into Steliden. However if they made port into Sleema they can sell goods their and in turn the more shadier Sleema folk can sell it south. The 'evil' to the government is that Sleema has become unofficial rebel headquarters made of both Ta'zul Patriots, good aligned crusaders, and the common duchy dweller who hates the corruption brought by Eagleton. They are no recognized by the Sleema government or anything, its more that the city watch is not equipped to investigate and stamp out rebels who are usually incognito in the city proper, with so much space between cities it probably isn't hard for rebel groups to organize and train in secret, short of a wizard finding out.

2) The Ta'zul city is called Karaktus and its worship is based around Neptune, Lord of the Sea. This is in somewhat defiance of the Chernabog Cult that has risen amongst the Duchy. As religious freedom wanes under the black, glassy eyes of Chernabog more-and-more natives prepare to carry out a rebellion against the Duke.

3) The reason to draw Eagleton down there is a very good one, just escaping the mob would of been a good reason, this just adds an extra cherry on top.

4) I assume this league is made up of Carolinga, Aamonia, Despin and Vasthole? That is a good idea, I hope we can get more people to work on those three of course. Obviously we have some information on at least Vasthole from a previous thread.
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