The Five Fiefdoms

Caerwellan and a History Lesson

The party found the elf bleeding to death in the desert after he had
been knifed by the merchants’ guild for staying in the city too long.
They saved his life and he proclaimed that the augurs sent him to
bring back those who would help him in his darkest hour, so he is
determined to bring them back with him to the elven city Caerwellan.
He is their guide leading them to the city. Without him, elvish guards
would execute the party on sight as they entered the upper forest.
They just finished killing a group of orc bandits and the next stop on
their journey is Caerwellan. They may be attacked by spiders or
something as they climb the cliff.

In Caerwellan, they are going to get a bit of a geography and history
lesson on the 5 great cities. Some of the oldest elves in the elvish
high council will remember better times before all ambassadors were
ejected from the dwarven kingdoms. After the 6th great city broke off
from their mountain, they became extremely isolationist and retreated
from the world. This city was less a city than it was a place of great
learning for wizards and some few sorcerors who loved magic and its
study. It’s industry and economy were entirely based upon the great
university atop the mountain. It was one of the few cities that
welcomed those of all races equally. Lysendine is a primarily human
city. Caerwellan is exclusively elvish. Keitelhurm is entirely
dwarven. Bezelcog is human and to a lesser extent orc. Solopolis
allows merchants of any race, but allows no one to truly live there
and call it home. Merchants cannot raise families and usually leave
within 10 years when they have made or broken their fortunes. High
members of the merchants guild usually have homes elsewhere in the
world which they travel to while trusted employees run their business
part of the year. They are the most permanent residents, and even they
must live elsewhere as well. It is more of a profitable crossroads
than a real city.

The university city was a true bastion of diversity and it was called
Torrellon. Only the most fanatical mages were able to study there, and
with their curiosity of magic and their fervor for knowledge, they
simply did not recognize racial boundaries. Their passion for the
arcane arts blinded them to all else, including the scarring on the
world their eventually created.
Tell me, are you well traveled? And have you ever seen a dwarf on any
of your travels? I should also mention that you are the first humans
to set foot in Caerwellan in centuries. An age of great isolationism
began after they left this land. Solopolis was created in part to keep
the cities from intermingling. Our seers have prophesized that this
age will soon end, but they are unsure of how or of what that will
mean for the world. Perhaps it will mean each city will be occupied by
one controlling force. Perhaps it will mean something better. But
before we attempt to guess on what will happen, you must understand
what did happen.

Torrellon was a remarkable city, run almost entirely on magic. They
enchanted armor for the dwarves in exchange for living atop their
mountain in peace and allowing envoys to visit them periodically,
either with new recruits, ready to learn, or with needed arcane
materials and supplies. It was a city filled with magical items of
untold power where wonder were commonplace. Occasionally travelers and
pilgrims would come to gaze upon the spectacle of this city. Their
power was truly immense. But with power often comes arrogance. Most of
the materials the mages needed from the envoys were not necessary with
their powers to teleport or create food and water themselves with the
merest cantrip. The dwarves using their magic for profit was insulting
and an intolerable interruption. Also, the pilgrims and young
disciples streaming in to the city in the caravans did not have the
same fervent desire to learn as some of the more seasoned residents.
They decided in time, that they had made it too easy for people to
visit their great city and dilute its noble purpose. Being atop a
mountain was not remote enough.
The mages banded together and crafted a powerful spell that they
believed would solve all of their problems. If a mountain was not tall
enough to dissuade casual observers, a flying tower in the sky with
dozens of spells safeguarding it and blocking any scrying attempts
surely would be. They levitated their entire city, taking a large
chunk of the dwarves mountain with them. The dwarves were
understandably irate. They have refused to enter into any agreement
beyond the most simple trades with any of the other races since then.
They do not trust any of us since all races were involved in the great
levitation of the tower of Torrellon. Dwarves had been
under-represented in the mages’ ranks, not because of a refusal to
admit them, but because of a general disinterest in the arcane magics.
We shall never know how the dwarves who were among their ranks felt
about separating from their homeland.
After losing many of our finest mages who were studying at Torrellon,
possibly of their own choice, as well as some of our most ancient and
irreplaceable texts, we elves have been reluctant to send our people
anywhere. We have attempted to provide all elven services and all
arcane texts that elves could need right here in Caerwellan. We had a
great deal stolen from us that day and have no desire to have anything
further stolen from us, which is why we have withdrawn from the world
and kept all outsiders away from our city, though we at least send a
few elves into the world, which is more than the dwarves can claim at
least.
We have broken our isolationism by allowing you passage because we can
no longer ignore what the augurs say. The isolationism of all peoples
will soon end, whether we acquiesce or not. We have decided to take a
more active role in hopes of guiding the future toward one of the more
pleasant possibilities. Foretelling the future is an extremely
imprecise art. The augurs’ last message was thus:
All peoples will be as one.
All peoples will march together.
But first they will march opposed.
Joined by war.
Joined by greed.
Joined by hope.
Joined by knowledge.
Joined by ignorance.
United, reunited, discovered, rediscovered.
Five, six, seven points in the darkness.
Points to the darkness or to the light.
From above to below
All peoples will be as one.

We have some of our most skilled interpreters attempting to decipher
the meaning, but such things are rarely discovered in time to assist
us. One thing however remains clear: all of the peoples of the world
will be united. Since that part clearly seems to be in the future, we
have decided to unite those that we can on our terms. We have sent
envoys to Lysendine, but they have been turned back. We also sent
envoys to Bezelcog and the dwarven lands, but we have not heard from
them since and fear them captured or killed. Our envoy to Solopolis
was your guide. As you can see, he had little success speaking with
the merchants’ guild. However our augurs did predict that he would
find something or someone to help us in Solopolis, and the reason you
are the first outsiders in Caerwellan in centuries is because we
believe that you are that someone.
We must begin dialogues between the different cities. I believe
Lysendra would have been at least receptive of our ambassadors; she
has always allowed a few elvish travelers within her city. But the new
ruler Nevantine has filled the city with orcs and kept all elves out.
I do not believe our next steps lie there. With their recent coup, I
fear that the uniting of all people our augurs predict may be under
whatever tyrant staged the overthrow of their leader. We will not
allow such a tyrant to attack Caerwellan.
Although we felt the need to try, Bezelcog also appear to be a
direction we cannot go. Their city was isolated even before the
drawves and the absence of Torrellon. What happens in that city, we
have never known. However, we did once have ambassadors to the
dwarves. They are a noble people and were the most wronged when the
mages of Torrellon left for the sky. They will be the most difficult
to convince, but with them, I believe we can achieve something if we
could only be heard.

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Exploring Solopolis

I switched things around a little from the last time. They met Frent’s
familiar, but it was a raven so it could talk to them. I thought it
would be annoying to constantly have Dylan need to cast speak with
animal. The raven’s name is Skeen.

They met and defeated the hill giant. They figured out what was going
on with the tower (mostly bc the raven told them) and now they’re
headed off to Solopolis. They met a Criosphynx. It wants to attack
them or take all their money. They haven’t actually engaged in battle
yet.

When they reach Solopolis, they will find it is a tent city, but it is
a very elaborate tent city. It looks as though long ago it may have
just been several tents pitched around a small natural oasis, but it
has grown and expanded radially from there. Some of the tents have
multiple doors and stories. Overall, it is a largely beige, canvass
affair, made of tough material to withstand the biting winds and
frequent sand storms. Almost every tent they pass is a merchant of
some kind, and while they desert was sparsely occupied on their
travels to Solopolis, it seems like everyone who travels through the
desert has this place as their destination, or at least their rest
stop along the way.

Business in Solopolis is booming, especially weapons and arms dealers.
Any such merchant they talk to will assure them that business is
always good, but lately there has been so much demand they can barely
supply the needs of the buyers. And the interesting thing is that
there have been so many new customers. Normally a merchant makes their
money on their tried and true customers, the traveling merchants who
own caravans and manage to find markets in small towns or large cities
all around the world. But lately, new customer after new customer has
been flooding in to purchase items, usually weaponry, though he has
heard from other merchants that dealers in fine magical items have
seen an increase in sales as well.

The merchant they are speaking to may mention that there are so many
new people, they even had an elf stop by recently. It was odd because
he didn’t seem to want to buy anything (he has an eye for lookers vs
shoppers), but it was strange because he wasn’t even looking at the
merchandise. Needless to say he threw him out of the establishment.
He’s actually seen him around for nearly two weeks now and he hasn’t
heard of him buying or selling anything. He had better watch out
before he attracts the attention of the merchant’s guild. There are
very few rules to the city of Solopolis- anything can be bought, sold,
or traded, but the guild does have some guidelines and regulations.
You need a merchant’s license to stay in the city for more than a
week’s time- they don’t encourage permanent residents. They also take
a percentage of profits from all sales. People who have disobeyed are
sometimes known to disappear or terrible misfortunes befall their
business.

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First few days in Lysendine

The PCs entered Lysendine through the Darmush district and made their
way through Zakrow to the Gateway district. They got into a barfight
while trying to gather information at one of the seedier bars and got
some great weapons (+1) and some information off of the people who
attacked them. They found out about the layout of the city and the
various districts. They also found out about a disgraced nobleman who
spent his time at a nearby bar drinking himself silly. They found this
nobleman, Alphonse (Telacour, though they never asked his last name)
and after hours of drinking and trying to get him to talk without
bursting into tears, they discovered that he was approached by Duke
Nevantine who asked him if he wanted to be friends and Alphonse
declined since he was loyal to the queen. In retaliation, Nevantine
leaked Alphonse’s secret (that he was gay) to his wife Maria. Alphonse
has no proof of this, but he feels fairly certain that Nevantine was
responsible for his fall from grace. He finds Keegan, Dylan’s
character, to be very attractive and is slightly more likely to spill
his guts to Keegan than to anyone else.

The PCs also found out from Alphonse that Nevantine used to fight
queen Lysendra’s policies tooth and nail and then one day a little
over a year ago, he started going along with everything she said and
even offering her his support. Since then Nevantine has been very
docile, but has actively kept in touch with all of the other nobles.
They also know that Nevantine is very wealthy and Alphonse doesn’t
think the queen could have bribed him with money.

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Orc Diplomacy

The party ran into Karak and his elite death squad before finding
Sogrith. Karak strong armed them into helping him find and kill
Sogrith without the loss of any orc troops. He used the humans in the
party as convoys promising great wealth to Sogrith if he should
challenge their “leader” in one on one combat, offering them slaves
and women for raping from the imaginary town they represented if
Sogrith could defeat their leader one on one. Sogrith agreed in front
of all his troops and Karak came forth. Sogrith could not deny this
challenge he had already accepted and allowed within his camp. He flew
into an angry rage, attacking Keegan and charging at Karak. After a
heated battle, Karak defeated Sogrith, but forced Keegan to stabilize
him to better make an example of him later. While stabilizing Sogrith,
Keegan got close enough to his mouth to hear Sogrith mutter a few
final words about how Karak was a fool to challenge Lysandra. Keegan
and the rest of the party managed to escape in the confusion following
Sogrith’s defeat. Calthanus recognized Lysendra as the queen of
Lysendine, a major city to the north. The party has journeyed through
the woods and is now in the farmland north of the forest and south of
the city of Lysendine. They can see its gleaming towers in the
distance. As they were passing through the farmland, they noticed a
lot of farmland dug up and scored by what farmers claimed to be some
sort of skeleton monster. The party found and destroyed the skeleton
before resting on their way to Lysendine.

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The Journey Begins

Kobolds have been mysteriously attacking border cities. It seems that
orcs have been pressuring them into it. Upon finding that the kobolds
had no gold or goods to give the orcs (because the PCs raided them,
killing the few posted guards), the orcs massacred the kobolds. One
kobold has survived and is following the party.

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