Maghdath
map_maghdath.jpg
Maghdath
Aliases Isle of 10,000 Temples
the Boil
the Wart
Size Small city
Location Varno, Vatharond
Ruler Mayor Vanton Heggry
Population 9,200
82% human, 5% halfling,
4% half-orc, 4% gnome,
3% dwarf, 2% other
Exports ?

Maghdath (mag-DAT) is a settlement in western Vatharond, located in the Barony of Varno. The city is a strange place, resting atop an unnatural and unsettling mound. Why people choose to live here is unclear, but for some reason they always have.

Known by frequent visitors such as tradesmen as the Boil, or, more basely, the Wart, Maghdath rises over the otherwise swampy southern banks of Icebird River, the only solid ground of any reasonable scope in the swampland known as the Wrythe for a distance of nearly 20 miles to east or west. When the river fog rolls in every morning and evening, those who dwell on the hill’s Crown district can look out on a world of white vastness, while those below take solace in the simple fact that the ground beneath their feet is solid and unlikely to wash away after one of the area’s frequent rainstorms or seasonal floods.

Districts


The Filth

The western area of the Maghdath runs along the southern bank of the Icebird River. Much of the city’s waste ends up here, and as such, the water quickly clogs with flotsam so that there are always several barges at work clearing the waterways and removing the flotsam to one of the Filth’s great burn pits. Often, the transition between land and water is gradual, with shores being little better than quicksand; most buildings along the shore are built on wooden pilings sunk deep into the ground. Stories abound of folk who have found diamond rings, furs, and even magic items in the rubbish here, but also iron, wood, and other common salable commodities. A number of rag and bone merchants employ scavengers like this, and their warehouses are scattered on the edges of the Filth. The stench in the Filth is indescribable, especially in summer, and huge numbers of rats, flies, and particularly a species of maroon cockroach dwell here, making the land an almost living thing. The poorest (and generally newest) residents live in hovels clustered together for safety and stability—a town of scavenged rubbish. Numerous cruel taskmasters have their tanneries, alchemy workshops, and middenstone vats here.

The Tangle

By far the most crowded and populated part of Maghdath is the Tangle—the lower and middle heights of the hill itself. A twisting mass of alleys, dead ends, and lightless streets serve as the arteries and veins of the district. Towering around these black footpaths (that are often less than 2 feet wide) are claustrophobic houses of wood, stone, and increasingly, Middenstone. Anyone venturing into the myriad alleys without comprehensive knowledge of them or a guide stands an excellent chance of becoming lost, and those who do lose their way stand a excellent chance of being marked by thugs, cutthroats, or worse. However, in these alleys a traveler also passes countless houses, stores, and cupboard-shops selling everything from paper lanterns to decorative pig masks, from clay pipes and strange tobacco to street corner coffee houses at which locals gather to smoke long hookah pipes beloved of the population (the aromatic tobacco does an excellent job at masking the city’s other smells).

The Crown

The cobbled streets at the top of the hill broaden and are bleached white, and locals joke half-seriously that the streets of the Crown are the tops of countless polished skulls. Buildings at the Crown are larger, and most utilize solid stone and good timber in their construction. Middenstone buildings are unknown in the district, but the color purple is not, for lavender grows in profusion in and around the many olive trees that thrive in the more pleasant air of the high hill. Actual crows are numerous here as well—some say they are waiting for something to happen. Merchants, dignitaries, and the wealthy make their homes here, enjoying the lack of taxes the isle grants.

Two structures on the Crown in particular bear special note. The first is Crown Manor, a fortified castle-like estate that serves as both the Maghdath town hall and the home of the city’s mayor. Called Rag Manor by many of the city’s citizens (but never to the mayor’s face) for the colorful and plentiful flags and tapestries that hang from its walls and fly from so many of its tower roofs (yet are only very infrequently changed and replaced as they grow tattered), some 20 members of the Crows normally guard their lord along with one of the sergeants at arms. Crown Manor has served countless rulers of the hill as a last bastion against invasion, and it is said that its extensive dungeons consist of the ruins of no fewer than two dozen previous castles.

The other structure of note on the Crown is the city’s largest and most intimidating church—the Ossuary Church. Built over the foundations of countless other graveyards and crypts, the Ossuary Church is run by the priesthood of Damien, although its site has served many deities over the ages. The building itself is white, its walls initially decorated with bones harvested from the depths of the church’s ossuaries for the purpose of making room for the new citizens of the Hill as the older generations passed on, but eventually as a grisly sort of decoration to celebrate the death of a citizen. Within the church, the walls are decorated with beautiful but haunting frescoes depicting Damien’s Boneyard. These murals are new, but the tradition is not—the deeper one goes into the vaults and crypts below, older murals for different gods exist. At the deepest level, in vaults the church has locked up and in which dwell strange and hideous monsters, the murals show the ancient rites of the Old Cults themselves.

Features


Compass Lodge

Black Aerie

Once the home of the Cabal of Truth.

Notable Inhabitants


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