Yeah, it’s me again — the Delphi Oracle of bloggers. Not that anything I have to say is particularly wise or anything. I’m going to forgo the usual apologies and excuses, it’s gotten tired by now I’m sure. But what I have been typing madly about instead of any sort of insights with you, Patient Reader, is what I’ve recently been referring to as the Talamor Campaign (presumably for 5th Edition D&D), and more precisely, the setting itself. Besides a novel based on the work that has amassed about the place, titled Gomlaragravir, I’ve been delving into the cosmology and early history of the world (named Era by the eldest of current races, the Hyleni or Wood-elves), as well as a good deal of game-related resources, including one that details the central point of the campaign, the city-state of Andlachen.
From the description: “Originally a fisherman’s thorp by the (River) Andlang supported by the Crook & Horn Tavern, Andlachen took full advantage of its position amid the rise of kingdoms of Harwald and Udan. The Hyleni of the Cor Arbirros, regardless of their opinions otherwise, saw the burgeoning Mannish nations as invaluable partners for trade. Being in the midst of the trade routes put Andlachen as a partner in the inevitable negotiations. As merchant caravans and their respective coin became more frequent, the village quickly grew into a town proper, and when threats came to it from the north and east, the participating nations sent forces to aid, as well several bands of daring adventurers, who sought gold from the kingdoms’ coffers in return for their services. Eventually the city of Andlachen saw the influence of distant kingdoms as Brunheath, Khadath, and Lendalar, as vendors and artisans from those as well as other realms saw fit to settle within the confines of the city and take advantage of its rapid growth. Even the rarely seen sea-elves of Hesperia have traveled beneath Andlachen’s mighty gates, some out of curiosity and others eager to extend their hands in commerce. Today the city-state is seen as an independent neutral entity, where any and all can freely engage in trade and discourse.”
The government of the city is overseen by the twelve Alders, formerly known as Aldermen — that is, until a number of female members were elected in recent times. Again, from the description: “Positions are typically hereditary, given their family’s influence at the time of the juncture, or are replaced by those who have gained reputable status at the time. Such judgments are put to a vote by the remaining members.” Needless to say, they are influential people, and their presence is felt throughout the city. They are (currently) detailed as follows:
AEDOLANN IONAITH: The proprietor of the River Run Brewery, taking up the business founded by her grandfather, Ionaith has never been troubled with a lack of drive or vision. Educated in Udan, her interest with the barley malts of Kedanic tradition fell short of expectations, and her studies eventually found her among the vale-elves of Khadath, living with the Estani monks to learn the secrets behind their many variants with subtle ales, heavy stouts and clean lagers. She brought this knowledge back to her family’s business thereafter, and due to her innovations the brewery’s products have become Andlachen’s leading export. A want for proper sewage disposal and local fresh water was also addressed by Ionaith, and along with a team of elvish architects and dwarven engineers, she brought aqueducts and sewers to the city. Needless to say, due to these actions she is revered among city folk and her fellow Aldermen. The now-elderly Ionaith nonetheless remains modest and devoted to the city of her birth, and a paradigm for women’s issues and technological advance.
CANTHBAEL DAVENLEN: Former bard, adventurer, and host at the Crook & Horn Tavern, Davenlen is a more than familiar presence in Andlachen and beloved by its citizens. The current Lord High Mayor, he has a genuine love for the city of his birth, and concern for its place amid the constantly changing landscape of outlying kingdoms and realms of peril. His relationship and ties with Lalianthia Arbadam (see below) have put him under much suspicion, but his clear judgment and care for the needs of Andlachen have made him the longest elected Mayor in its history. An affable and charming man, Davenlen is nonetheless inscrutable and calculated when it comes to critical decisions.
CORMIL GIL-ETHRAN: Known as the “Lion of Malacath” after the city of his birth, Gil-Ethran made his name early as a crusader against the tribes of giant-kind that inhabited the Hinder Peaks and Knollands, to find that the two-pronged march against Udan had been orchestrated by the Yithian cult located in the Bleak Hills. This lead to an alliance with the people of Harwald, who were dealing with a similar infestation of cultist activity in the Harrowmoors. His eventual fame lent him high regard among Baalist clergy that he spurned in favor of a temple post in Andlachen as its Patriarch of Baal, having frequented the city throughout his early career and of which he is most fond. His closest allies with the Council are Jabar Dillis, the Commander of the City Watch, and the sage and historian Svari Olafryst, his former mentor and longtime friend.
EGAN IONAITH: Son of Aedolann Ionaith, the city’s brewer, and proprietor of the Link Boy Inn in the city’s River Quarter, Ionaith has been cited by many as riding his mother’s coattails in search of personal acclaim and repute. He had positioned himself for the role of Lord High Mayor three times in the past, but was looked over in favor of Canthbael Davenlen. As a result, Ionaith has become a decided opponent to Davenlen in most affairs.
FERGUS RANGVALD: The city’s Guildmaster of Merchants, Rangvald is a somewhat nervous and chatty man, but nonetheless stalwartly keeps concerns of his fellow guild members as well as the many craftspeople of the city in focus when major decisions are broached. He holds an uneasy alliance with Lalianthia Arbadam and her associates of the Fain Melath, knowing full well of their influence within the city, but always stresses the keeping up of appearances when it comes to Andlachen’s relations with outside companies. His closest ally within the council is Gorman Muadnath, the city’s Reeve, who shares his devotion for keeping the city’s status quo. The descendant of Cressland horsemen, Rangvald was supposedly inept with the animals, but showed a sharp eye for trade speculation, and quickly used his talents to rid himself of Harwald and begin anew in Andlachen.
GORMAN MUADNATH: Current Reeve of the city, and right-hand man of the Lord High Mayor Canthbael Davenlen, Muadnath is a native of the city, and an advocate for the Three Sisters School in the River Quarter, established in fashion of the hedge schools he frequented as a youth. Known otherwise to be a short-tempered and ireful man with a dire wit and little patience with whom he deems to be ignorant, Muadnath sees himself as a humble servant to the city and its residents. Although often at odds with each other, Muadnath remains loyal to the Lord High Mayor Canthbael Davenlen, as it is clear to both that they ultimately are genuinely concerned with the welfare of the city and its people.
HORMA LIADANN: Matriarch of Cairnaya, called the “Midwife of Andlachen“ for her concerns with the lower class people, and their children in particular. She is behind the founding of the Sanctuary of Cairnaya in the city, which not only allows worship of the patron goddess but provides lodging for the abandoned, elderly, sick or infirm, as well as the Three Sisters‘ School. Among her supporters within the Council are Lalianthia Arbadam and Gorman Muadnath, the city Reeve.
JABAR DILLIS: The city’s Commander of the Watch, and former adventurer hailing from the city of Magdal-Ayin in Udan. Friend and ally of Cormil Gil-Ethan, Dillis is also a veteran of campaigns into the Hinder Peaks and Knollands, and is an advocate of additional militia assigned to the north. Educated in Udan, he has a strong grasp of tactics and strategy, and is always the voice of reason when the city is threatened. He is a stern and sobering presence, whose blunt honesty and forthrightness is as valued as it is daunting.
KAITALA ILMALLIA: The Guildmistress of Magic in Andlachen, Ilmallia is often held as flighty or distracted, but as the city’s only true archmage keeps a sharp wit and keen insight on otherwise obscure matters. She is typically noncommittal in most council matters unless her opinion is sought, but has often been invaluable for her ability for abstract thinking and recognizing otherwise elusive factors. An alvara (female valley-elf) of Khadath, “Kite”, as she is known to friends, came to Andlachen in pursuit of knowledge, and found it to be the perfect blend of influences outside the burgeoning bureaucracies of the more extenuated governments. Her closest allies are fellow elf-maid Lalianthia Arbadam and Aedolann Ionaith, with whom she shares a higher mind.
LALIANTHIA ARBADAM: The current acknowledged leader of the Fain Melath, or Thieves’ Guild, who finds no conflict between what she feels is best for her guild members and Andlachen. A former adventurer rumored to be a thief by most citizens, she is nonetheless respected for her concerns with female-folk, children and their care within the confines of the city. A hylena (female wood-elf) and exiled member of Cor Arbirros’ royal bloodline (the grand-niece of its current liege, King Bathastus), she is publicly known to be assistant to the town’s sage and historian, Svari Olafryst. She is also behind the majority of smuggling operations in Andlachen, and maintains a network between it and the outlying cities of Udan and Harwald. Her relationship with the Lord High Mayor is often a subject of gossip, due to its sometimes tenuous nature.
RANAL GAIN: While Gain’s position among the Council is seen as mostly as rote, since as the city’s Registrar he records the actions and decisions made by his fellow Alders in session, he has proven to be invaluable in close calls and sometimes inspired under pressure. Many find his incessant need of questioning annoying, but his pursuit of detail often comes in handy when facts must be weighed. Gain’s peculiar manner and incessant pipe-smoking is tiresome for some, but his recollection is admired and relied upon. Gain’s closest allies are Jabar Dillis, who has actually enlisted his aid in criminal cases that have eluded his watchmen, and Kaitalla Ilmallia, who finds his probing mind fascinating — although he is usually at a loss for words before the alvara wizardress.
SVARI OLAFRYST: Venerable at the late age of 250, Olafryst is one of the oldest living of his kind, but remains active in the city community. As one of the more reputable historians and sages, his counsel is often sought out by many of his contemporaries, who include Andarast the Half-Elven of the White Wizards of Udan. His background is obscure, but he is rumored to have blood ties to the throne of Dwarven kingdom of Brunheath, if not the rightly named king himself. But Olafryst eschews all such repute, and focuses his attention to the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom for all. He has close associations with fellow Alders Cormil Gil-Ethran, who he often sent on personal quests in the paladin’s youth, Canthbael Davenlen, who like he is a devotee to lore and lay, and Lalianthia Arbadam, his devoted friend and associate. Svari is fully aware of her dealings with the Fain Melath, but in his wisdom sees their function as a necessary evil against tyranny and oppression.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed creating these characters, and am genuinely excited about their potential in the spinning of plots and involvements for prospective players. I’ve still got a ton of detailing to go before Andlachen is a fully detailed milleu (to coin a word from the Great Gygax himself), but while it’s not exactly been a free-flowing experience overall, I’ve had a great deal of fun hammering the details out. More to come — eventually ;D