Cast of Characters
Mowgli as Emraeal Tnúthánach gan Didean aka 'Slip' - CG Female Elven Ranger
SelcSilverhand as Merotabahn "Mero" Trabant - N Male Gnome Sorcerer
CanadienneBacon as Lady Quinne Valanthe - CG Female Human Fighter
Mark Chance as Rolf - NG Male Half-Orc Cleric of Erastil
Scott DeWar as Marcus DuBois - N Male Human Fighter
Shayuri as Thorn - CG Female Human Rogue
For eight centuries, Westcrown was a bastion of civilization and a symbol of national strength in Chelish eyes. As the city served as the center of Aroden’s faith, all Cheliax deemed the City of Nine Stars to be Aroden’s next home in the mortal world. Westcrown rivaled Absalom as a destination of pilgrimages during the Age of Enthronement. Yet, with Aroden’s unexpected death, the once shining City of Nine Stars became the City of Twilight as Chelish citizens lost hope. Decades of bloody strife followed, and the only direction out of the chaos seemed to be the orderly tenets of diabolism. A city that once symbolized a people’s power now projects a people’s disappointment and despair. Hope has dimmed in the city, and shadow beasts walk the streets instead of Aroden’s clergy. Westcrown remains influential in its mercantile and military might, but also humbled by its lost faith and tarnished reputation. One of the most varied and sophisticated cities of the Inner Sea, Westcrown is an enigma. By day, this city reminds many of any city or country they know, either because of the varied architecture or because people from all across Avistan and Garund now call Westcrown home. The many religious sites, whether active or debased, continue to draw the pious, the curious, and the devious. Even the ruins of the northern city draw interest among those looking for less-than-legal materials or rare treasures amid the dangerous rubble. But once the sun sets, only the foolish walk out of doors in Westcrown, for the shadow beasts prowl every darkened lane and waterway.
Natives of Westcrown—along with several other major Chelish cities—possess a wide vocabulary referring to titles, places, and specifics relating to their home.
Adel: A small, personal barge
Dottari: The Chelish city guard
Durotas: A captain of the city guard
Duxotar: The commander of the city guard
Haloran: A lantern-bearing staff
Pyrahje: Man-sized torches that light major areas of Westcrown by night
Parego: “Great region,” one of the three major districts of Westcrown
Rego: A region or neighborhood of Westcrown
Vaneo: A Chelish manor house
Vira: A Chelish estate
Wiscrani: A resident or something from Westcrown
[sblock=At a Glance]
One’s location in Westcrown determines the size, height, and opulence of the surrounding buildings. Every building, however, begins with a stone foundation, most often the light stone quarried from the surrounding hills or along the Adivian River. The richer areas of town contain all-stone construction, if not rarer or more specialized materials. Most places add three or more levels made from wood, either light varieties of local trees or the dark barroak felled in the Barrowood and brought downriver. Buildings lean upon each other at the higher levels where necessary, with the sight of freestanding buildings usually denoting the money and influence of nobility. Streets and walkways in Westcrown almost undulate in places, evidence of the random nature of the building spaces. Stone paves every surface within the city walls, and while main avenues in richer areas have stone slabs, mirror-slick in the rain, cobblestones fill other areas. All runoff gets channeled to sewer grates or back toward the river, and keeping grates clear of blockages becomes an informal task for dottari during the rainy seasons. While there are hire-sweeps to tend to the streets and keep them clear of offal, few folks beyond the rich can afford them, and garbage piles up in the alleys of poorer sections of town until cleared by locals or benevolent priests. The city’s pride and arrogance has dimmed over the decades along with its lost influence as the failed “Home of Aroden.” As a result, many Wiscrani no longer take as much pride in keeping their neighborhoods clean or in the best repair. Structures exposed to the elements remain unmended, garbage chokes some alleys, and things change only by the influence of dottari spears or coins. While the faith of many people crumbled with Aroden, his priests and worshipers of his founders continue to watch out for Westcrown and its people, shoring up and repairing temples and common buildings alike. The city’s paregos, or “Great Sectors,” provide the broad breakdown of the city, while its eight subdivisions provide finer distinctions.[/sblock]
1. Vizio's Tavern
The City of Twilight carves itself up into three distinct Paregos (“great regions”) used and understood by all the city’s residents: the Regicona (“the Floating Palace”), or Westcrown Island; the Spera (“Hope’s Altar”), the stilloccupied sections of the city; and the Dospera (“Despair’s Altar”), or the ruined northern regions of Westcrown. When locals provide directions in the city, though, they split it up into regos (regions or sectors). The five on the western shores are Rego Cader, Rego Crua, Rego Scripa, Rego Pena, and Rego Sacero. The three island sectors in the river are Rego Corna, Rego Laina, and Rego Aerum. Some folk add on two more sectors: Rego Funda (“Farm Sector”) encompasses the hills and dales between the city and the Adivian Bridge and includes the city’s farms and food supplies. The Pripatra (or Rego Patra to the sycophantic) generally covers all the manor houses and noble estates bordering the Dhaenflow.
Wiscrani call Westcrown Island Regicona. Encircling the 8 canalriddled islands are the Regiconan Walls, the Chained Arches spanning each of the canals piercing them. Most of the city’s population never sees inside the walls built by their efforts and coins, so rumors run rampant of what happens within the Regicona. All they and most city visitors see are the grandeur of the tallest buildings rising above the walls, like the former royal palaces and a grand opera house.
Each of the 8 islands of the Regicona holds no less than two major vaneos (manor houses) or full viras (estates) occupied by noble or inf luential Wiscrani families. Socially, if not legally, 10 noble families each lay claim to “rulership” of the island on which their vaneos lie, and their control can often subsume that of the Regidottari by bribes if not the blades of each family’s mercenary troops. Many families have lost inf luence and lives by assuming they had the Regidottari’s protection, only to find their protectors already bought by their enemies. The oldest adage taught to every child here is, “An island’s water can defend or detain—only trust the tides.”
While life on Westcrown’s shores has returned to one of prosperity through trade, the Regicona clings to the opulence of times past. Where modern-style buildings replaced uninhabitable ruins on the mainland city, much of the Regiconan architecture reflects older styles from the imperial glory days of both Cheliax and Taldor, with balustrade-lined tile roofs, needle-like towers for single archers or vocari (“voice guards”), and smooth polished archways. All paved with smooth stone, the roads are flanked by gutters along the edges of buildings, allowing water and waste to drain out from underfoot and into sewer grates or the canals.
These massive defensive walls encircle the entirety of Westcrown Island, and are constantly
manned by the regidottari, with each tower or adjacent section of wall billeting at least a score of soldiers. Every tower acts as an armory and storehouse for food and supplies. In general, each island has a complement of 30 regidottari per tower.
Towers flanking a canal also connect via the Chain Arches, massive stone arches containing the
winches for the chain gates. These massive curtains of barbed chains descend into the canal at times of unrest or emergency, or at the whims of the duxotar or Durotas Bolvona. Most often, they lower the chains only enough to display the latest traitors’ bodies impaled upon the barbs as warnings to others.
The condottari control the canals, where upon occasion they clash with nobles’ forces pursuing
vendettas. Like the regidottari, military troops in their reinforced adels and skiffs can be bought. Canal walls rise at least 10 feet above the waters of the canal, and the last flood to overflow the canals and engulf the Regicona happened more than 400 years ago. Seven-foot-wide stone roads line the canals at the water’s common level, forming foundations for 5-foot-square slab stairs that ascend to
street level. In drier seasons, these roads also serve as free market space for those rising early enough to set up here (though the areas submerge during spring and early summer floods). Adels pull up to stairposts near the walls and unload passengers onto the stairs or allow booms and pulleys to remove goods (or noble-laden divans). The only docks on the canals nestle beneath property lining the canals. Once a craft broaches an entry arch, landowners control all dock territory, not the condottari.
Drawbridges (one on each side) cross each canal at least once every 200 feet, and slaves winch
them up when necessary to allow the passage of any craft within a canal. Regidottari control the bridges, regardless of who owns the land on which the abutment rests, though many bribe them when they need to hamper foot pursuit or prevent someone’s escape from a particular isle. Regardless, all soldiers obey the River Edicts and move bridges if they are impediments to watercraft.
“Crown Sector” encompasses the former stronghold of power in Cheliax—the Imperial Court of Cheliax and its attendant holdings and homes. Once the most desired land in the country, the islands of Impriax, Dlaratha, and Siraon recovered only some prestige in the past three decades.
Triam and Islatra comprise the large central pair of islands in “Blade Sector.” These are the last of the original islands, and none today remember the origins of their names. The name of the sector stems from the many famous battles, smithies, and armories situated therein.
“Treasure Sector” is the home of true rarities for sale in Westcrown. The youngest territory in the city, the southern half of Westcrown Island only grew beyond mud flats in the past millennium. The three islands of Rego Aerum include Siar, Ghiam, and Karhal. The park at the south end of Karhal formed due to the mysterious inability of any building built there to be completed, due to a long history of strange accidents. The lands became a city park for the rich and idle in 4040 ar.
The Parego Dospera (“Despair’s Altar”) refers to the abandoned ruins and downtrodden slums of the northern shores of Westcrown. The roads are often in disrepair, and running in the Dospera invites a twisted ankle or a broken leg, leaving one fair game to the many threats in its shadows. While the northern sector is entirely a ruin, only kept in vague control by the sureshots of the rundottari on the walls around it, the southern rego acts as the buffer zone between it and “civilized” Westcrown.
“Dead Sector” refers to the northern ruins, though older Wiscrani can tell you this used to be Rego Plea (formerly home to house slaves, servants, and lesser trades) before Aroden’s Fall. Inside this sector are the “low trades” the nobles wished not to see, including many forges or smithies still useful, if not in good repair. The bulk of the abandoned or ruined buildings were once taverns, inns, rooming houses, and stables. Now, most are either squats and partial homes for barbaric humans, dens of thieves, or even the lairs of monsters from leucrotta to goblins and tieflings strong enough to survive. There may even be gargoyles still bound to guard areas that have long since fallen to ruin around their perches.
“Blood Sector” once held all slave trade and a wide array of low-end or less-desirable businesses, from tanneries to slaughterhouses. As a result of the stench and filth, this sector also contained the northern slums of Westcrown, nestled up against the walls of Rego Cader (which sometimes makes them safer due to the near-constant presence of rundottari above them). The farther south one travels, the more buildings rise in height and cleanliness until you cross the eastern Pegasi Bridge into Parego Spera.
The Spera (“Hope’s Altar”) contains the still-thriving sections of the city, once looked down upon by the city’s elite and now recognized as its money-making lifeblood. The western city still holds many nobles, but unlike the Regicona, trade and coin rule here more than politics. The three sectors of the Spera are Rego Scripa (“Scribe Sector”), the commercial hub and mercantile class sector that was the site of the empire’s scribes and printers; Rego Pena (“Coin Sector”), the fine trades, high-quality goods, and “new money” class sector; and Rego Sacero (“Priest Sector”), the temple and “old money” sector.
“Scribe Sector” was once the center for the bureaucratic work of the Chelish empire, the area dominated by ink- and paper-makers, printers, binders, scribes, and messengers. Now, precious few such businesses remain beyond cartographers; trade warehouses and ship-related businesses (rope- and sail-makers, navigators, and shipwrights) now populate this sector.
“Coin Sector” houses the more lucrative trades and many houses of dubious standing, politically or monetarily. This also acts as home to a rising class of rich merchants who, by choice or fate, lack the political clout or connections to gain noble status or the notice of the Imperial Court.
“Priest Sector” contains more shrines and ecclesiastical real estate (extant or ruined) than five other Chelish cities combined. For centuries, priests and nobles alike kept all land east of the Arodennama (on and beneath the Rise) vacant for Aroden’s personal gardens. That land became a flashpoint of land grabs and assassination among many nobles, officials, and priesthoods after the Last Azlanti’s death. By 4614, various faiths and houses had bought up much of the land.
[sblock=Westcrown by Night]
It all began in Rova of 4676 ar. What started as stories of strange creatures slinking through the shadows became a citywide panic as Wiscrani began disappearing off the darkened streets. Rumors spread quickly of a return of the White Plague or a resurrection of the infamous Council of Thieves, but these tales were soon replaced by reports of a shadowy calamity at Delvehaven, the local Pathfinder lodge, and sightings of dark and insubstantial beings hunting the streets. After months of ignoring or dismissing the problem, the government eventually launched a campaign to seek out and put an end to what they downplayed as an infestation of giant rats, goblins, and goblin dogs. Yet the dottari proved ill equipped for these midnight hunts, and the office of the mayor offered only empty promises. Growing fear and anger led to scapegoating and suspicions of insurrectionists from Nidal, which culminated in a mob’s daylight burning of twin Nidalese coasters. Finally, for the populace’s protection, a curfew was enacted throughout the city while a small army of dottari and experienced mercenaries were commissioned to deal with the shadowy curse that had afflicted the Wiscrani night. Numerous raids and hunts were conducted in the Dospera and ancient city sewers, only to result in the loss of many hunters with little apparent gain. Thus, the nightly curfew remained in effect for more than 30 years, with the unwary risking their very lives.
Today, with the dying of every day’s light, businesses hurriedly close and respectable homes light lanterns outside their doors. Members of the dotarri light pyrahjes, man-sized torches, throughout the Parego Regicona and in the major plazas of the Parego Spera, patrolling between such islands of light in groups of seven. Taverns, festhalls, and similar establishments maintain sleeping rolls for those who stay after dark, collecting a customary 2 sp fee for boarders soon after twilight. Those forced onto the street after dark typically carry halorans, 7-foot-tall hooked staves hung with bright lanterns, made publicly available along the city’s most traveled avenues. Despite the city’s adaptation to the nightly scourge, specifics of what the creatures are, where they came from, and their intentions remain the stuff of rumors, with every Wiscrani having his own wildly varying theory. Most residents have accepted and adapted to the deadly curfew, which is frequently broken in the Spera and even more often on Westcrown Island, where few attacks take place. Dottari who catch residents out after curfew can enforce up to a 5 gp fine, but more commonly hurry such scofflaws along their way. Weekly, though, new tales arise of deadly attacks on curfew breakers, assuring that the nightly ban is widely maintained. Several times a year the lord mayor makes a show of decrying the plague of mysterious hunters stalking the city’s streets, promising renewed efforts to put an end to the menace, but little has changed in the three decades since the creatures’ mysterious appearance.
Tall and lean, Janiven is an attractive dark-haired woman who downplays her beauty with rough clothing and a no-nonsense attitude. She has invited the PCs to a secret meeting at Vizio's Tavern to discuss organizing for the betterment of all the citizens of Westcrown.