Obsidian Bay

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Crest of OB.jpg

Overview

This entry serves as the "Obsidian Bay City Guide", offering a detailed look at the growing medieval metropolis that is Obsidian Bay. While the Adventurer's Guide is designed to provided an broad overview of the city, its history and its life, the City Guide gets down to specifics. It is broken down by city districts, much like the City of Greyhawk boxed set or the Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins source book.

This city book is a work in progress. Although we have adventured in Obsidian Bay for years, the city remained something like a rough sketch -- a fairly detailed sketch, but still a sketch. With the launch of our Dark City campaign set in Obsidian Bay, we've decided to take the time to fully flesh out the city. To that end, we've created a hand-drawn map of Obsidian Bay and are adding labels for specific locations and naming the major streets. We're also working to add "Site" entries for those locations to the database; as they become available, they will appear in this city book under the appropriate section.

One of our primary resources for this phase of the project is Expeditious Retreat's Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe which offers a number of tools for creating a realistic medieval city.

History

The Pomarj has long been a wild, brutal land that called out for heroes. The citizens of Obsidian Bay answered that call.

The Free City was established by the Griffin's Guild -- a band of good-aligned adventurers from Onwal -- Coldeven 27, CY 513 as a frontier village. The goals of those intrepid adventurers were threefold:

  • Drive back the humanoid hordes
  • Establish a bastion of good on the Pomarj
  • Acquire great wealth and magical power

They succeeded.

Obsidian Bay today is one of the shining cities of the Flanaess. Like its much more famous neighbor to the north, the Obsidian Bay is a center of power, wealth and learning.

The city-state is ruled by a hereditary Lord Mayor who must answer to three elected Councils -- the Council of Holders, the Council of Guilds and the Council of Citizens.

Wealth from the Pomarjian interior constantly flows into the city as its many adventuring guilds return from lost ruins, abandoned mines, and the peninsula's immense underdark. Its guilds dominate everyday life, from the entertainment provided by the Artisan's Guild to the essential services provided by the Sewer Guild, but other citizens and landholders have a voice in their lives via their own Councils. While not as rich or powerful as the Free City of Greyhawk, or even the Free City of Irongate, Obsidian Bay is a force to be reckoned with. Its adventurers are some of the most respected (in the case of the Griffin's Guild) and the most infamous (in the case of the Blackrazor Guild). Obsidian Bay has not been immune to the troubles plaguing the Flanaess, and in many ways it has suffered more than any of the other free cities. It has fought two brief wars with the united humanoids under Turrosh Mak and has fallen twice, once to the Scarlet Brotherhood and once to demons from the Abyss' Plains of Chaos.

The recent wars have deeply scarred the once-tolerant masses. Vigilante groups now roam the streets looking for lawbreakers and guilds like the Orcslayers are no longer restrained from launching raids against the humanoid masses.

And in CY 588, the city's Councils decided to follow Greyhawk's lead in establishing the Domain of Obsidian Bay, a realm that stretches from its black sand shores north to the Drachensgrabs and then east to Blue. Its adventurers have been invigorated by the proclamation and the Lord Mayor's promise that any land held by an individual or guild for more than five years would become theirs permanently.

A great land grab is underway, filling the peninsula with excitement. War. Power. Treasure. Rewards almost beyond imagination. All these and more are possible in Obsidian Bay ... or so its government would have its citizens believe.

Can Obsidian Bay truely hold its domain? Can its citizens, nearly exhausted from years of war, keep repealing off the humanoids? And will the Blackrazor Guild some how refrain from burning down the city?

Only time will tell.

Related Resources

City Layout

The Map of Obsidian Bay, with important locations labeled.

Obsidian Bay consists of an Inner City and an Outer City, each surrounded by a 30 foot tall city wall.

The Inner City is the oldest portion of Obsidian Bay and it is comprised of six quarters (though in Obsidian Bay, "district" and "quarter" are interchangeable tersm): High Quarter, The Docks, Griffin District, Mudsitters District, Strange Quarter and Wharf District. In addition, the Wharf District is home to "Irontown", an enclave of dwarves and gnomes that is nearly a district onto itself. The Inner City is surrounded by a 30-foot tall, 10 foot thick wall which was build 10 years after the city's founding, and served as its primarily line of defense until the Outer Wall was built in CY 591.

The Outer City is a new section of the city, having only existed since the end of the War of Exile, when the city was liberated and its leaders decided that additional protected land was needed. It is comprised of two districts: the Shield District and the Adventurers Quarter. It is surrounded by a 40-foot tall, 15-foot thick city wall.

City Maps

City Statistics

The following statistics about Obsidian Bay were developed using the guidelines set down in Expeditious Retreat's Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe. More so than anything else in this guide, this section is a work-in-progress, subject to occasional tweaking as we continue building out the city.

General Information

Type Metropolis
Population 28,800
Pop. Density (adults/acre) 150
Size (in acres) 192
Average # of Structures (per acre) 70
Range of # of Structures (per acre) 60-80
Total # Structures in the City 13,440
Wealth (1/2 GP Limit x 1/10 population) 144,000,000
Gold Piece Limit 100,000
Income for Ruler 360,000
Magic Resources (5% of wealth) 7,200,000
City Length (feet) 2,892
City Length (yards) 964
City Length (miles) 0.54
City Width (feet) 2,892
City Width (yards) 964
City Width (miles) .54
Community Modifier (power center) +6
Community Modifer (npcs) +12

Power Centers

Center Type Alignment
Government (Lord Mayor) Conventional Neutral Good
Religion (Church of St. Cuthbert) Conventional Lawful Good
Guilds (Darksea Guild) Non-standard Neutral
Guild (Griffin's Guild) Non-standard Chaotic Good

Racial Demographics

based on modified "mixed" column from DMG p. 140
Race Percentage Population
Human 79% 22,752
Dwarf 7% 2,016
Elf 4% 1,152
Gnome 4% 1,152
Halfling 3% 864
Half-Orc 2% 575
Half-Elf 1% 288

Adventurers Quarter

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When construction of the then-unnamed Adventurers Quarter was announced, dozens of deep-pocked adventurers immediately began buying up land within it, almost instantly granting the quarter its name. Numerous eccentric shops -- usually founded by the adventurers themselves -- can be found here, as well as several taverns and inn catering to the city's highly esteemed mercenaries.

Griffin District

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The Griffin District occupies the center of Obsidian Bay, sitting on a large hill 50 feet tall, 700 feet long and 500 feet wide that has been sculpted into a plateau. Named after the guild that founded the city, it is home to most of Obsidian Bay's governmental offices.

Included here the Lord Mayor's Mansion, the Great Hall (home to the city's three ruling councils), and the Palace of Order, which holds administrative offices for the city. Also found here is the Griffins Guildhall, which dates back to the city's founding, and served as home to its initial rulers. The entire district is surrounded by a 15-foot tall, 5 foot thick stone wall.

High Quarter

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The majority of the city's rich and powerful live in the High Quarter, which is located in the city's northeastern corner. It is bordered by the Mudsitters District to the west and the Wharf District to the south. The city's "lords" -- men and women of exceptional financial power -- often have manor houses in this portion of the city, which is also home to Obsidian Bay's finer theatre and dining establishments. The quarter is also home to Drake's Lake, a small fresh-water pond created as part of the city's aquifer project. It is surrounded by some of the most expensive property in all of Obsidian Bay.

The district is also home to: the Invincibles Guild, the Church of Heironeous, the Amble Theatre, and the Silver Palace.

Mudsitters District

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Home to the city's downtrodden masses, the Mudsitters District takes it name from the overflow of refuges who typically fill its streets when enemies threaten the country side. In recent years the district has grown somewhat more prosperous (and dangerous) with the revitalization of the Blackrazor Guild. The guild's membership owns an entire city block, and sends out regular patrols to keep the district's ruffians in check.

It is located in the northwestern corner of the city and is bordered by the Strange Quarter to the south, and the High Quarter to the east. The district is also home to: the Orcslayers Guild, the Ralleymen Guild, and the Temple of Kord.

Shield District

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The Shield District is home to Obsidian Bay's military academy and command office as well as numerous defense related tradesmen (including hostlers, fletchers, and blacksmiths). The district has four gates. Two -- the North Gate and Merchants Gate -- lead to the Inner City. The other two -- the Krovis Gate (on the eastern side of the district) and the March Gate (on the North side) lead to the outside.

Strange Quarter

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The Strange Quarter is home to oddities both arcane and mundane.

Wharf District

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The Wharf District includes most of the city's artisans and industrial shops, warehouses, and -- at least technically -- the city's docks. Near the center of the district, can be found the Black Gulch, a massive sinkhole created by Sven Kildare when he and his fellow Blackrazors as they tried to repel the combined Scarlet Brotherhood/Saughuin invasion of CY 588. Irontown, a center for the city's dwarven and gnomish populations, can also be found within the district.

The Gulch is 50 yards in diameter, and descends 500 feet below the city, where it passes through the city's rudimentary sewer system before joining up with deep cavern system the permeates much of The Pomarj. A city guard barracks is located just outside of the Gulch, and serves as a first line of defense against the occasional attacks by subterranean races who discover the Gulch.

The district also home to the Citadel of Law, the city's primary law enforcement facility. It is abutted by the Strange Quarter to the west and the High Quarter to the north: The district is also home to: The Temple of Pursuit (holy site of Trithereon), the Professionals Guild, the Goldseekers Guild, and the Blackened Stump (an inn and tavern of ill-repute frequented by the infamous Blackrazor Guild).

Irontown

Irontown is an enclave of dwarves and gnomes located within the larger Wharf District.

The Docks

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Technically a subset of the Wharf District, in truth The Docks maintain a separate identity from Obsidian Bay's industrial quarter. The Docks typically hold about 50 sailing ships, with a half-dozen of those being warships belonging to the city, and are separated from the Wharf District to the north by a 20-foot-tall, 10-foot wide stone wall.