The Iron Bear
The Kalen Corps
Hallis Island was named for the ranger Kalen Hallis. Kalen spent most of his life patrolling the small island, apparently after he was ship-wrecked there during a freak storm. Colonizers of Duke Stomalin arrived in 850 Avard, looking for precious metals and raw materials. The town of Gridolin was founded in 864 Avard, and handled some of the few metals and materials flowing down the over-sized stream known as the Salem River. Mount Grisholm proved to have a small trove of silver, but was mined out within five years. After this, Gridolin was more or less abandoned by the mainland. Some few people remained, and the town grew a bit, and then shrank, over the intervening years. It was finally abandoned in 1132 Avard.
In 1324 Avard, the town was reopened by the new King of Rakore, who included in his domain Hallis Island. A baronet was formed out of the city, and its colonizers, in the aftermath of the War of the Undead. The city was intended as a prison facility, to house ne'er-do-wells from the mainland. The thought was that, even if they should escape, there was nowhere for them to go. The island was large enough (at 10,000 square miles) to accommodate a considerable number of criminals, and the supporting industry. That the island also had forests with good timber was merely a way for the criminals to work off their debts, as far as the king was concerned.
In the spring of 1328 Avard, one of the king's foremost knights and magicians purchased the title of Duke, and asked for Hallis Island to be his duchy. King Graniteshoulders readily agreed, and Gridolin and the island were turned over to a new feudal lord. The Baron Angus Orcbane was retained to administer the prisons. After the destruction of Tulish and its shipyards in the autumn of 1328, Rakore and its primary money-maker, Gideon Enterprises, decided to build a new shipyard at Gridolin. The city was then expanded considerably, after receiving the attention of the Chosen of Arpelos. The High Priest of the Church of Arpelos purchased the old Grisholm mines, and converted them into a monastery dedicated to studying and destroying the undead. The monastery, The Burning Sun, is a joint effort between the Churches of Arpelos, Xoriah, Galgiran, and Curiss, with occasional aid from the Churches of Lul and Habrem.
During the War of the Four Winds, Duke Henrik Kamus was not only the duke of Hallis Island, but also the advisor on magic to the King of Rakore. An accomplished mage, Duke Henrik sacrificed himself in a blast of aether-magic that wiped out a sizeable chunk of the ogran forces. The duke's sacrifice bought Rakore a significant victory, and a statue to Duke Henrik was erected overlooking the harbor of Gridolin.
After Duke Henrik's passing, the King entrusted Duke Orcbane to take care of Hallis Island.
Hallis Island is regularly patrolled by Duke Travandale Orcbane's flagship, the Iron Bear, and by his mounted guard, the Kalen Corps.
Much of the food for Gridolin comes from the sea, and from the rich farmland found on the southern side of the city. Prisoners and freemen both regularly cross the Salem by ferry, which charges a copper per person, per trip. Some traders come out of the mountains to trade in Gridolin, but the few natives to the island outside of Gridolin tend to keep to themselves, for the most part.
A heavy Gideon Enterprises presence, coupled with the shipyards installed in place of Tulish, make for a powerful local economy. The Duke asks only five percent, on top of the King's five percent, in taxes. Most of the monies in Gridolin go towards maintaining the prisons, but much of it also goes into Kirad's Soapstone Company, to expand the economic base of the Duke.
Classification: Small City
Population: 7,000 (74% Slate, 6% Amarans, 4% Toomarans, 1% Sylvan elves, 1% desert elves, 9% mountain dwarves, 4% hill dwarves, 3% tomanths), plus nearly 3,000 prisoners (mainly Slate).
Spending Limitations: 146,000 silver maximum (525,000 gold in the local economy)
Rulership: Duke Travandale Orcbane often leads the city as judiciar, feudal ruler, and benevolent landlord. When not immediately available, Captain Shiarre of the Iron Bear, Moror Stonehelm of the Kalen Corps, and High Priestess Etre'iya Vamusa'rayeem of the Burning Sun are authorized to perform whatever duties are necessary to run the duchy.
Alignment: Chaotic Good. The wildly mixed population of all races, coupled with the sailors and the history of Gridolin, has made for a tough city. Duke Travandale Orcbane's guard do a commendable job maintaining general order, but the proximity of the prisoners and the grim determination necessary to keep them in line lends to an atmosphere of 'anything goes'. Racial intolerances usually do not last past the first fight, and the few laws that the duke has had to create truly apply only to the prisoners.
Defense: Gridolin's full-time guard numbers close to 300 -- mainly dwarves and tomanths in the employ of the King. Administered by Baron Orcbane, the guard keeps the prisoners in line, and also serves to keep the peace in Gridolin itself. The Baron's rule is fair, but hard, and his men are more apt to ask questions first, and figure things out, later.
Guard: (races and gender vary); Ftr1; CR 1; Size M; HD 1d10; hp 10; Init +4 (+4 Improved initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC
17 (+5 chainmail, +2 large shield); Attack +1 melee (axes, 1d8+1, crit19-20x2), or +1 ranged (light crossbow, 1d6, crit19-20x3, RI80ft); SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +0; AL
LN; Str 11, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 11. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Ride (equine) +4, Sense motive +2, Spot +2; Improved initiative,
Cleave, Weapon focus (axes). Possessions: axes, light crossbow, chainmail, large shield.
Economy: The city is geared towards working the prisoners, and the building of ships. Because of this, few conventional items are available for purchase -- such as weapons and traveling apparel. The only authorized sales of such items takes place within the Duke's Hall, with oversight from a pair of his loyal Corpsmen. The prices are reasonable, and the Corpsmen on duty more than willing to help out as needed. To support the Corpsmen, and the guard, is a hefty industry of metalworking -- from farriers to armorers to blacksmiths.
Fortifications: The Duke's Hall was supposedly built in a night by a combined effort of his magics and the Chosen of Arpelos's prayers. A massive, two-winged edifice, joined by a central tower, with ending towers on each wing -- the Duke's Hall and its surrounding walls were designed to keep out a small army. Located on a slight hillock on the north side of the city, the fortress is likely unassailable by anything but a small army. It also houses a small army, serving as headquarters for the duchy, the Kalen Corps, the local Gideon Enterprises offices, and the economic center of the city (next to the open markets).
Staff for the Duke's Hall and Castle:
The Kalen Corps
Moror Stonehelm, male mountain dwarf, Ftr16: [tough, fair, ruthless, dour, and loyal to the core -- worse, he's a dwarf that thinks outside of the box] CR 16; Size M (4'4", 165lbs); HD 16d10+80; hp 198; Init +7 (+3 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative); Spd 40 ft.; AC 23 (+3 Dex, +8 plate); Attack +25/+20/+15/+10 melee (greataxe, 1d12+14+1d6 fire, crit17-20x3), or +21/+17/+12/+7 ranged (throwing axes, 1d6+8, crit20x2, RI 20ft); SV Fort +15, Ref +8, Will +6; AL LN; Str 21, Dex 16, Con 21, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 11. Languages Spoken: Common, Dwarven, Ogran. Skills and feats: Climb +7, Craft (Armorsmithing) +20, Craft (Blacksmithing) +13, Craft (Leatherworking) +8, Craft (Stonemasonry) +11, Craft (Weaponsmithing) +20; Cleave, Great Cleave, Greater Weapon Specialization (greataxe), Greater Weapon Focus (greataxe), Improved Critical (greataxe), Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Leadership, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (greataxe), Weapon Specialization (greataxe). Possessions: Brettil (mithral, keen, flaming burst greataxe +2, sheds red light in a 20' radius as a torch) (32,920gp), returning, throwing axe of distance +3 (22,000gp), dwarven plate +2 (10,500gp), boots of striding and springing (2,500gp), everburning torch.
Talak Orcbane, male hill dwarf, Exp6: [anal-retentive
obsessive-compulsive armorer] CR5; Size M (4'0", 150lbs); HD 6d6; hp 24;
init +2; spd 20; AC 16 (+4 chain shirt, +2 dex); atk +5 melee (morningstar,
1d8+1, crit x2), +6 ranged (light crossbow, 1d8, crit 19-20/x2); SV fort 3, ref
4, will 5; AL LN; Str 13, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 10. Languages:
Common, Dwarven, Ogran, Elven. Skills: Craft (Armorsmithing) +15, Craft
(Weaponsmithing), +15, Craft (Bowyer/fletcher) +12, Craft (blacksmithing) +8,
Craft (leatherworking) +8, Craft (Locksmithing) +10, Disable Device +11, Handle
Animal +9, Open Lock +11, Use Magic Device +12; Skill Focus (Craft -
Amorsmithing), Skill Focus (Craft - Weaponsmithing).
The Burning Sun Monastery
Etre'iya Vamusa'rayeem, High Priestess of Hallis Island: female sylvan elf; Clr(Habrem)10/Brd9; CR 19; Size M (5'3", 95lbs); HD 10d8+40 + 9d6+36; hp 147; Init +6 (+2 Dex, +4 Improved initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (+2 Dex, +5 elven chain); Attack +15/+10/+5 melee (longsword, 1d8+3, crit19-20x2), or +17/+12/+7 ranged (throwing daggers, 1d4+2, crit19-20x2); SV Fort +14, Ref +11, Will +18; AL CG; Str 15, Dex 15, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 20, Cha 17. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Concentration +18, Craft (weaponsmithing) +5, Gather Information +13, Heal +15, Hide +12, Jump +12, Knowledge +13, Listen +5, Move silently +21, Perform (vocals) +12, Profession (huntress) +10, Scry +10, Spot +5; Blind-fight, Combat Reflexes, Craft Wondrous Item, Enlarge spell, Extra turning, Improved Initiative, Leadership, Two-weapon fighting. Cleric Domains: Chaos, Luck. Cleric Spells Per Day: 6/6+1/5+1/4+1/4+1/3+1. Bard Spells Known (3/4/4/3): 0th -- Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Mage Hand, Open/Close. 1st -- Expeditious Retreat, Identify, Summon Monster I, Ventriloquism. 2nd -- Hold Person, Invisibility, Silence, Summon Monster II. 3rd -- Invisibility Sphere, Leomund's Tiny Hut, Summon Monster III. Possessions: elven chain, 6 holy throwing daggers (whistling) +2, cloak of elvenkind, boots of elvenkind, holy symbol of Habrem carved from an orange fire-opal.
Although led by a priestess of Habrem, the Burning Sun is really more of a joint effort by the Churches of Arpelos and Xoriah, with support from the Churches of Curiss and Galgiran. The support from the Church of Galgiran stems from Rakore's long-standing difficulties with the undead, and a request by Father Bryan Stonegrudge, ArchBishop of Galgiran for Rakore. The monastery houses some fifty clerics, monks, paladins, wizards, sorcerors, and rangers of various backgrounds, races, and alignments. They are all held together by High Priestess Etre'iya and her personally-assigned guard.
Unbeknownst to most, Etre'iya's personal guard also protect one of Rakore's most powerful weapons. After the destruction of Tulish, Duke Henrik, the Chosen of Arpelos, and several other powerful people managed to chase down the rogue sect of Quitzara from the Church of Lul. They found the awesome weapons of destruction that were used to level Tulish, and secured them so that no others could have access to them without express orders from the King of Rakore. In caverns dug out by the titanium dragon Artanus lie 18 spheres of anhilation suspended from gossamer strands of magic. Guarded in a different part of the monastery are the portable holes and talismans of the sphere necessary to activate the horrendous weapons.
Etre'iya's Guard (140+): (races and gender vary); Ftr1; CR 1; Size M; HD 1d10; hp 10; Init +4 (+4 Improved initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC
17 (+5 chainmail, +2 kite shield); Attack +1 melee (longsword, 1d8, crit19-20x2), or +1 ranged (light crossbow, 1d6, crit19-20x3, RI80ft); SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +0; AL LN; Str 11, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 11. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Listen +4, Sense motive +2, Spot +4; Alertness, Blind-fight, Improved Initiative.
All of the necromantic spellbooks in the Rakoran registry were transferred to the Burning Sun Monastery, once construction was complete. The mage-made books are kept separated from the more divinely-inspired books, and the Church of Lul has even sent the occasional book or tome with information on how to defeat the undead. (A partial listing of available spells is found in the miscellaneous listings, under spellbooks written by necromancers.)
The Iron Bear
Captain Shiarre: sholin human; Clr7 (Olorin); Size M (6'6", 290lbs); HD 7d8+21; hp 62; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (+3 Dex, +4 cranot scale mail); Attack +9 melee (fists, 1d4+4, crit20x2), or +8 ranged (whomever's handy); SV Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +8; AL LN; Str 18, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 11, Wis 17, Cha 12. Languages Spoken: Common, Sholin. Skills and feats: Diplomacy +13, Hide +3, Listen +3, Move Silently +3, Profession (sailor) +14, Scry +9, Spot +3, Swim +5; Extra turning, Leadership, Skill focus (diplomacy), Skill focus (profession). Cleric Domains: Travel, Water. Cleric Spells Per Day: 6/5+1/4+1/3+1/1+1.
Crew (150): (races and gender vary); Com1; CR 1; Size M; HD 1d4; hp 7; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 10; Attack +0 melee (shortsword, 1d6, crit19-20x2), or +0 ranged (dagger, 1d4, crit19-20x2, RI10ft); SV Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +0; AL LE; Str 11, Dex 11, Con 10, Int 11, Wis 11, Cha 11. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Climb +2, Profession (sailor) +6, Spot +0, Swim +3, Use Rope +2; Skill focus (profession), Toughness.
Officers (10): (races and gender vary); Exp2; CR 1; Size M; HD 2d6; hp 7; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 10; Attack +1 melee (shortsword, 1d6, crit19-20x2), or +1 ranged (dagger, 1d4, crit19-20x2, RI10ft); SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +3; AL LE; Str 10, Dex 11, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 10. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Alchemy +2, Appraise +4, Climb +4, Hide +0, Knowledge (nature) +5, Listen +3, Profession (sailor or seige engineer) +7, Spot +5, Swim +5; Alertness, Skill focus (profession).
Marines (30): (races and gender vary); Ftr1; CR 1; Size M; HD 1d10; hp 13; Init +4 (+4 Improved initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (studded leather); Attack +1 melee (longsword, 1d8, crit19-20x2), or +1 ranged (longbow, 1d8, crit20x3, RI110ft); SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +0; AL LE; Str 11, Dex 11, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 11. Languages Spoken: Common. Skills and feats: Climb +4, Listen +2, Profession (sailor) +4, Spot +1, Swim +3; Alertness, Improved initiative, Toughness.