The Pirate Fortress
Dar a'Droaz is a port on the coast of Fallen Sun, west of the Kingdom of Geilem. It is famed for its rocky citadel, and notorious as a home for pirates, slavers and gladiators.
The main city of Dar a'Droaz lies within the protective sweep of sandstone cliffs, the carved stone houses seem suffused with warmth when the sunlight falls on their honey-coloured stone. Rising above this Outer City is the Rock of the Fang that climbs steeply from the landward side to a spire jutting over the sea. The Rock of the Fang is riddled with tunnels, all of which form part of the Citadel, culminating in a castle at the top of the Rock. At the base of the rock, huge arches allow ships to pass inside to the Inner City, where there are docks waiting to recieve them. The seaward edge of the rock is a sharp prow, with an archipeligo of smaller rocks marching out to sea, the furthest of which is tipped with a lighthouse.
History of Dar a'Droaz
Following the collapse of the a'Keshamite Empire there came a time of chaos. The Denga Droaz, or Fang of the Denga, were a pirate band taking their name from the denga, a jackal-like creature of the Fallen Sun badlands. The Denga Droaz formed from remnants of the Imperial navy. They not only raided neighbouring lands and the coasts of Fallen Sun for goods, they were also slavers, finding a lucrative market selling to the ptorac people. The Denga Droaz became rich and powerful, but the wealth and power also led to a degree of legitimacy and responsibility. A settlement of supplicants and support personnel grew around the fortified pirate base, and this in time became a town, then a city. The fortunes of Dar a'Droaz waxed and waned, with the pirates suffering punishment at the hands of Obrenaja when they tried to raid that nation, and sometimes fighting battles with their trading partners, the ptorac. The rising Kingdom of Geilem checked many of the their slave-raids, although the imbata nomads still provided easy prey.
Although Dar a'Droaz still trades in slaves, it also trades in many other goods as well. Those who deal with the port find that they are able to turn a blind eye to the less than savoury aspects of Dar a'Droaz if it means that they are able to buy and sell there.
Recent contact with the Merchants League has changed the fortunes of Dar a'Droaz once again. New markets between the Inner and Outer Continents are opening up. The League has an anti-slavery policy, but certain League families, notably House Tangashi, find that the distance from League Headquarters allows them to trade in goods (and people) normally illegal under official League regulations.
Life in Dar a'Droaz
Dar a'Droaz is ruled by a mysterious council known as the Diamond, rumoured to be frome between four to eight high-ranking members of society who meet in secret to govern. Some say that the Diamond go cloaked and masked, and not even they know who each of the others are. The will of the Diamond is conducted through the Offices of Sapphire who are the blue-robed officials that oversee everyday activity in Dar a'Droaz, and the Topaz Guard, who enforce the will of the Diamond and the Offices of Sapphire. Unlike the Diamond, members of the Topaz Guard and the Sapphire Office are not anonymous.
Mass entertainment in Dar a'Droaz centres around the Tournament of Life, conducted in a great amphitheatre within the Rock of the Fang known as the Elogium Hall. Here, slave and freeman gladiators compete in contests to the death, first blood or surrender. The Elogian gladiators are divided into schools, each with a distinct set of armaments and fighting style inspired mainly by animals.
- Lions are lightly armoured and carry a sword and sword-breaker dagger.
- Sharks wear spiked armour and carry a trident, sometimes a net.
- Rauks, named after the granite tortoise of Fallen Sun, are heavily armoured but are armed only with a light club.
- Denga are lightly armoured and armed with a dagger, but always fight in packs.
- Snakes are again lightly armoured but use weapons tipped with a mild venom to slowly weaken their opponents.
- Urchins carry a spiked shield and light throwing spines (treat as shuriken).
Using Dar a'Droaz
Dar a'Droaz is a pirate city, but unlike Paradise on Tas-Nabrenor it is not a choatic, lawless place. The rule of law is firmly upheld by the Diamond and its agents; it just so happens that the law allows slave-trading and death combats (in fact criminals in Dar a'Droaz quite often end up fighting in the Elogium Hall). The general populace of Dar a'Droaz may not all support these activities but the general feeling is "better them than us".
Characters with noble intentions may find themselves trying to bring down the Diamond, rescue someone from the arena or exposing the House Tangashi slave-trade. Characters with less noble intent may also try to take over the place for themselves, or find themselves in turf wars with rival criminals.
Elogian Gladiator (Urchin Style)
Male Human Ftr3: CR 3; Medium Humanoid (human); AL N
Abilities Str 14 (+2), Dex 15 (+2), Con 13 (+1), Int 10 (+0), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 8 (-1)
Initiative +2; Speed 30 ft.
Armour Class 13 (+2 Dex, +1 shield) touch 12, flat-footed 11
Saves Fortitude +4, Reflex +3, Will +2
Hit Dice 3d10+3; hit points 19
Base Attack/Grapple +3/+5
Melee Shield bash +6 (1d4+2)
Ranged Throwing spine +5 (1d2+2, 10 ft.)
Special Attacks None
Special Qualities None
Skills (armour -1) Balance +3, Bluff +5, Diplomacy +1, Gather Information +1, Intimidate +7, Jump +3, Knowledge (local) +6, Sleight of Hand +10, Tumble +4
Feats Dodge, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (throwing spines)*, Improved Shield Bash, Weapon Focus (spiked shield)*
Possessions Light steel spiked shield, 20 throwing spines
Lan-Dak is a slight man, with the light-brown skin of the coastal a'Keshamites. He was a pickpocket and petty thief before he was caught and sentenced to the Tournament of Life. Some say that he tried to pick the pocket of one of the Diamond, but few truly believe this. He has been trained to fight as an Urchin style gladiator, which he does just well enough to stay alive. He claims to know a great deal about the secret workings of Dar a'Droaz, and some of what he says may even be true.
In the arena, Lan-Dak tries to avoid direct attacks, retreating to range to use his throwing spines as much as possible. If faced with a tough opponent he uses Dodge and full defence as much as possible. He uses the thug variant of fighter.
Romila The Savage
Elogian Gladiator (Lion Style)
Female Human Ftr7: CR 7; Medium Humanoid (human); AL LN
Abilities Str 12 (+1), Dex 16 (+3), Con 14 (+2), Int 13 (+1), Wis 8 (-1), Cha 10 (+0)
Initiative +3; Speed 30 ft.
Armour Class 16 (+3 Dex, +2 armour, +1 shield) touch 13, flat-footed 13
Saves Fortitude +7, Reflex +5, Will +1
Hit Dice 7d10+14; hit points 52
Base Attack/Grapple +7/+8
Melee Shortsword +8/+3 (1d6+3, crit. 19-20)
Melee Swordbreaker +7/+2 (1d4+2)
Full Attack Shortsword +6/+1 (1d6+3, crit. 19-20) and swordbreaker +5 (1d4+2)
Special Attacks None
Special Qualities None
Skills Craft (weaponsmith) +6, Handle Animal +5, Intimidate +5, Jump +6, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) +6, Ride +10, Swim +6, Tumble +5
Feats Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm*, Improved Trip, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (swordbreaker)*, Two-Weapon Defence, Two-Weapon Fighting*, Weapon Focus (shortsword), Weapon Specialisation (shortsword)*
Languages a'Kesh, Hishite
Possessions Leather armour, shortsword, swordbreaker
Romila is a robust dark-skinned woman with a face that would be handsome if it weren't permanently fixed in a glare of hatred for all. Her hair is woven into long plaits that swirl impressively when she fights in the arena. As a Lion Style gladiator, she uses a shortsword, with a sword-breaker dagger in her left-hand, and she fights with quick, aggresive movements, seeking to disarm foes and then deliver a wound. In the arena she allows enemies time to re-arm themselves, in order to draw out the fight. When it matters, she closes for the kill.
Romila comes from the Sisterhood of Hurriat, an unusual matriarchal society on the island of Hish off the coast of Fallen Sun. She was a high-ranking soldier until she was sold to ptorac slavers by a political rival. Her goals, past survival, are to return home and avenge her betrayal.
The swordbreaker has similar attributes to a sai, except that it also adds a +4 bonus to attempts to sunder weapons (as well as disarm), and cannot be effectively thrown.
Typical Topaz Guard
Human War2: CR 1; Medium Humanoid (human); AL LN
Abilities Str 13 (+1), Dex 10 (+0), Con 12 (+1), Int 9 (-1), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 8 (-1)
Initiative +0; Speed 20 ft.
Armour Class 14 (+4 armour) touch 10, flat-footed 14
Saves Fortitude +3, Reflex +0, Will +0
Hit Dice 2d8+2; hit points 11
Base Attack/Grapple +2/+3
Melee Halberd +4 (1d10+1, crit. x3)
Melee Shortsword +3 (1d6+1, crit. 19-20)
Ranged Light crossbow +2 (1d8 nonlethal, crit. 19-20, 80 ft.)
Special Attacks None
Special Qualities None
Skills (armour -4) Intimidate +4, Jump +2, Listen +2, Ride +5, Spot +2
Feats Alertness*, Weapon Focus (halberd)
Possessions Scale mail, halberd, shortsword, light crossbow, 10 padded bolts
A typical low-ranking member of the Topaz guard. These guards are armed with a halberd which allows them to trip escaping criminals. Their shortsword is a back-up for close-quarter fighting. Some guards are also armed with light crossbows, typically equipped with bolts with broad padded tips. These cause nonlethal bludgeoning damage instead of lethal piercing damage, the better to capture criminals for use in the Tournament of Life.
(c) 2011 The Creative Conclave.
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